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Muarrab seeks his eighth course win and Jutland returns to action in featured 1800m conditions race at Jebel Ali this Friday

High quality fields are on offer at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon with two cracking conditions races having attracted a select 11 runners between them and include the winners of both last season’s Jebel Ali Stakes and Jebel Ali Sprint. The first race is scheduled for 13:50.

Trainer Musabah Al Muhairi has a habit of creating Jebel Ali legends; Treble Jig (six course runs, six wins, including two Jebel Ali Miles and two Jebel Ali Stakes) and Russian Rock (seven wins, two Jebel Ali Sprints) springing immediately to mind.

Muarrab looks the latest off the production line; winner of last season’s Listed Jebel Ali Sprint, he has seven course wins to his name already and suffered his only defeat ‘up the hill’ on his first visit, his only try at 1400m on his favourite track.

He makes his seasonal return in a conditions contest over 1200m, 200m further than his Jebel Ali Sprint victory in March, but faces just three rivals, two like him, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, unsurprisingly, sides with Muarrab.

“He loves it at Jebel Ali,” said O’Neill. “He has plenty of natural ability but when he hits that hill he really strides out and it just suits him so well.

“It will be disappointing if he does not at least go very close.”
Local and dirt debutant, Taayel, a stable companion of Muarrab, will be having his first start since October 2013 (783 days) but showed decent form for John Gosden in England. Stable jockey, Fernando Jara, is the man in the saddle.

The same owner’s Nawwaar was a course and distance winner two weeks ago, finally displaying the dash he produces on turf on the dirt. Tadhg O’Shea rides for Ali Rashid Al Raihe.
“We have made a great start to the season,” said Al Raihe. “Nawwaar won well last time and is in very good form at home.”

Only United Color opposes the Sheikh Hamdan trio. He is trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum but has been beaten by Muarrab both times the pair have clashed at Jebel Ali.

“He will improve for the run,” said Selvaratnam. “Muarrab will be very hard to beat.”

Sheikh Hamdan, as well as having 10 runners on the card, also sponsors the official feature, an 1800m conditions race which carries the name of his Shadwell Farm, the American arm of his breeding empire.

He is responsible for two of the seven runners in the race, with O’Neill choosing to partner Sefri, trained by Erwan Charpy whose stable jockey, David Probert, rides stable companion Zamaam for the same owner.

Both have the benefit of a run this season but it may pay to concentrate on the top four, even though they are all making their first outing of the campaign and conceding weight to the other trio.

Run over 1950m in each of the last two seasons, the equivalent race was won by Farrier in 2013 who was chased home by Jutland but, 12 months ago, the pair clashed again with Jutland exacting his revenge.

Both are also course and distance winners as are Dormello and Mawhub, the other two penalised runners.

Trained by Doug Watson, Jutland, the mount of Pat Dobbs, won the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, over 1950m in March, and has five course wins to his name, two over this 1800m.

“He is fit and well,” said Watson. “This looks the ideal spot for his return to action and he should run a big race.”

Satish Seemar saddles both Farrier and Mawhub with stable jockey, Richard Mullen, siding with the former and apprentice, Hector Crouch, on the latter.

“Both go well at Jebel Ali,” said Mullen, whose mount has not won since beating Jutland in this two years ago. “Both are in good form at home and the horses are running well so they should give a good account of themselves.”

Dormello is an interesting runner for Selvaratnam and, like United Color, will be ridden by stable jockey, Chris Hayes.

“He missed one piece of work so may just need this,” said Selvaratnam. “Jutland looks the one to beat with the Watson team flying.”