Jebel Ali Stages Final Meeting of the Season on Friday

Friday afternoon’s final meeting of the Jebel Ali season is highlighted by three conditions races, with the official feature over 1800m and nine set to face the starter after the late defection of Le Bernardin who would have been one of the more likely winners.

The 2014 Jebel Ali Stakes (1950m) winner Interpret has to concede weight to all bar one of his rivals but should still have a hand in the finish, if in the mood to succeed. Never the easiest to predict, he was just denied in a similar race two weeks ago, having won over course and distance on Boxing Day, for which he is penalised.

Silvestre De Sousa again rides for his main employer, Musabah Al Muhairi.
“He certainly seems to save his best for Jebel Ali,” said De Sousa. “He can be hard work to get motivated but the steep uphill finish suits him. Hopefully he can go close.”

Also carrying a penalty is Romansh, making his first Jebel Ali appearance with Wayne Smith riding for Salem bin Ghadayer. He was far from disgraced in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday over 1600m and will appreciate the extra 200m having registered three of his career wins over 1800m.

“It is a nice spare ride,” said Smith. “He has done all his winning on dirt and seems to relish 1800m so, hopefully, he should be competitive in a decent little race.”

Third in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile four weeks ago was Shamaal Nibras, trained by Doug Watson and the mount of Pat Dobbs. This will be his first crack at the 1800m but has been staying on well over1600m, suggesting the trip will suit.

“We have given him four weeks between races again as it really seems to suit him,” explained Watson. “We think he will stay 1950m next season so this trip should be ideal and he is in good form at home.”

Watson also has Jeeraan, first past the post on his two most recent starts at Meydan (disqualified subsequently from the most recent), in the field. He is the choice of four runners in the field owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum by retained jockey Paul Hanagan.

This is one of four races on the card sponsored by Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell breeding empire, as well as the following 1400m conditions contest (Shadwell Farm) in which Hanagan rides course specialist, Kanaf.

Trained by Musabah Al Muhairi, Hanagan’s mount is seeking a seventh Jebel Ali victory and sixth over this 1400m course and distance. He will be hard to beat with stable companion Mashaaref, the mount of Dane O’Neill and also owned by Sheikh Hamdan, perhaps his main danger despite conceding weight to his seven rivals.

Hanagan, the owner and the same trainer then team up with Rafeej in a 1200m conditions (sponsored by Sheikh Hamdan’s Derrinstown Stud) race in which they will attempt to give weight to the other eight runners.

Again, the trainer and owner supply one of the main dangers, Dane O’Neill’s mount Fityaan with the Satish Seemar-trained Spin Cycle, Watson’s Kilt Rock and Sholaan others to consider.

The last named is trained on the Jebel Ali track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He has been running well at the Dubai World Cup Carnival and looks a big threat under Oisin Murphy.

“He is probably my best chance on the card,” said the young jockey. “He has been in great form at Meydan and is proven here at Jebel Ali. The team have really hit form and he should go close.”