Al Muhairi-trained Mashaaref Lands Jebel Ali Feature

Mashaaref wins feature
Photo: Erika Rasmussen

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Horses Dominate Proceedings

The featured 1400m conditions race at Jebel Ali’s second meeting of the season on Friday afternoon was won in style by Mashaaref, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum who was also the sponsor of the race through his Shadwell breeding empire.

It was one of four consecutive winners for the UAE’s Champion Owner.

He also supplied the runner-up in three of these contests for good measure.

Trained by Musabah Al Muhairi and ridden by the owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, Mashaaref was able to concede weight to his five rivals and was repeating his victory, in the same race, of 2013.

“We knew he likes the track and goes well fresh,” said O’Neill. “I was travelling so strongly I ended up hitting the front sooner than I planned but I was not going to disappoint him and he did it well enough in the end.”

He was completing a rapid double for the owner after the Doug Watson-trained Ostaad, narrowly denied at the first meeting of the season in a 1600m handicap, made no mistake in the 1800m handicap, leading 200m out under Pat Dobbs and posting a comfortable victory.

The winner, one of five runners in the race for Sheikh Hamdan, swept past the same owner’s Sefri to record a fourth UAE win and second on the Jebel Ali dirt.

“Pat gets on really well with this horse,” said Watson. “We had to run him back here quickly as there is no other race for him here for six weeks now.

“We will also look at Meydan turf races for him with a view to qualifying him for the Dubai World Cup Carnival.”
Mushaakis, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe, completed a treble for the owner, making virtually all, under O’Neill, in a 1400m handicap.

Firstknight chased him hard for the first half of the race but had no answer when O’Neill pressed the button about 400m from home.

The jockey was rewarded with a burst of speed from his charge and the race was effectively over as a contest with the same owner’s Sahra Al Khadra chasing him home.

The winner was scoring in the UAE for the second time, both over this course and distance, while registering a sixth career success in total.

“He ran very well when second over 1200m at the first meeting here,” said O’Neill. “We were pretty hopeful of a big run and I was always happy during the race.”

O’Neill, completing a treble, was also in the saddle on Nawwaar in the 1200m handicap which had looked ultra competitive on paper.

However, O’Neill had his rivals in trouble just after halfway, finally being chased home by Fityaan, sporting the owner’s second colours with a black cap.

A second winner for Al Raihe, it was a first win on dirt for the horse, previously considered a turf specialist, at the tenth attempt.

His four previous UAE victories were all achieved on grass, most notably Listed wins in both the 2013 National Day Cup and last year’s HH The President’s Cup, both at Abu Dhabi.

“It really has been a good afternoon,” said O’Neill. “Nawwaar ran a decent race over 1000m here two weeks ago and was always going to appreciate the extra 200m.

“He really picked up well when I asked him and put the race to bed in a few strides.

“It is great to ride a treble for the boss and for him to have four winners is a big achievement.”

It was Sheikh Hamdan’s tenth winner of the season.

Watson and Dobbs were denied a double, when their Tadarrok was caught in the final 200m by Hammurabi, in the concluding 1200m maiden.

With Richard Mullen riding for his main employer, Satish Seemar, the winner showed a commendable attitude to pass his only serious rival having unshipped his jockey on the way to the start.

This was only his second career start, after a debut third over 1200m at Meydan and he would appear to have some potential to progress with experience.

The Helal Al Alawi-trained AB Jalad made it third time lucky in the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, a 1200m maiden which opened proceedings.

Hard driven by Royston Ffrench, he finished with a flourish to land the spoils, his first dirt start having run twice on the Abu Dhabi turf last season.

“He has finished off strongly,” said Ffrench, partnering his first and the trainer’s second winner of the campaign. “He should certainly stay further and can, hopefully, improve from this.”