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Forjatt Claims Consecutive Jebel Ali Mile Spoils

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Photo Finish Gives Selvaratnam & Murphy Group 3 Contest

Jebel Ali’s biggest race of the season, the 1600m Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, produced one of the track’s closest finishes of the campaign with Silver Galaxy and Forjatt crossing the line locked in battle.

It was the latter, trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose nostrils were in front when it mattered, by the narrowest of margins.

Ridden by Oisin Murphy, Forjatt was settled in midfield but his young jockey always looked confident although was obviously determined not to get to the front too soon.

With about 200m left he asked his mount to quicken and he did, passing Silver Galaxy and the race looked over but the eventual runner-up would not give up, fighting back and nearly prevailing on the line.

When the result of the photo was announced and Forjatt entered the winner’s enclosure he enjoyed a raucous reception from the ever enthusiastic Jebel Ali crowd.

“I thought I had won,” said Murphy. “I knew it was very close but was pretty confident we were in front when it mattered. The plan was to challenge as late as possible because my fellow is a true miler, whereas Silver Galaxy stays a lot further.

“That was an amazing reception from the crowd and it has been a great day.”

In doing so, Forjatt became the second horse to win the race in consecutive years and third to win the race twice in total.

He was one of three winners on the card for connections who had already combined with Dormello, the very smooth winner of an 1800m conditions race in which the pair were always travelling well behind the leaders and, once Murphy asked for his effort, they shot clear to win easily.

The treble was completed by Gobooll in a 1400m handicap. Never far off the pace, he quickened to the front about 300m out and never looked likely to be caught.

“It has been a great afternoon and the horses are running well,” said Selvartnam. “Gobooll has improved dramatically this season and can hopefully build on this in handicap company.

“To be honest, I though Forjatt was beaten on the line so was delighted when the result was announced. To win this race two years running for Sheikh Ahmed is pretty special.”

The 1000m Jebel Ali Sprint Trial, the final event on the card, was won impressively by Muarrab, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi and ridden by Paul Hanagan for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Trainer Khalifa Al Neyadi claimed the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, an 1800m conditions race, opening his UAE account at the 154th time asking of asking with Mudallal Al Reef, ridden by Silvestre De Sousa.

The Doug Watson-trained Diwaan was forced to work hard to win the 1950m conditions race, driven to the front close home by Pat Dobbs to register the pair’s fourth consecutive victory this season.

Settled in midfield, behind what appeared a strong early gallop, Dobbs asked his mount to close halfway up the straight as most of the early leaders weakened but Petty Officer had opened up a decent lead.

The race was very much in the balance until the final 100m when Dobbs’ mount hit the front and won going away.

Salem Al Ketbi and his team at Al Asayl have been in good form with their Purebred Arabians and opened their Thoroughbred account for the season with Brazen in a 1600m handicap. Ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, he made virtually all.