Ed Marnane: Jebel Ali stages their biggest day of the season with a seven-race card featuring the Jebel Ali Mile on Friday.
The Group 3 contest has attracted a decent field, led by the 2019 winner Secret Ambition, winner of eight of 28 races since arriving in the UAE. Trained by Satish Seemar, who is seeking a sixth victory in the Jebel Ali Mile, he made an encouraging comeback in Listed company at Meydan last month.
He failed to give 1kg to useful Thegreatcollection, showing he hadn’t lost any of his enthusiasm and sparkle despite his advancing years.
Secret Ambition is entitled to strip fitter for the race and has strong claims of giving rider Tadhg O’Shea his first success in the race since steering Golden Arrow to victory 12 years ago.
Salem bin Ghadayer, who won last season’s Jebel Ali Mile with Chiefdom, runs Blown By Wind and Hypothetical, a recent winner on his local and dirt debut at Meydan.
Bin Ghadayer has booked Royston Ffrench, the season’s leading rider at Jebel Ali, to ride the unexposed Hypothetical. The son of Lope De Vega, fitted with a first-time tongue-tie, came home strongly to score from Alkaamel and five others on his first appearance in 120 days. He’s open to plenty of improvement on just his sixth lifetime appearance.
Blown By Wind made late progress to finish a remote third behind Hypothetical on his UAE debut. The performance can be upgraded, as he badly missed the break and was well adrift in the early stages.
Simon Crisford has secured the services of James Doyle for Court House, the highest ranked runner with a rating of 107 in the 12-runner field. He was a useful performer for John Gosden, winning three times, all on synthetic surfaces.
Not seen since chasing home the smart Dubai Warrior in the Winter Derby, his fitness has to be taken on trust but he hails from yard that traditionally can be relied to have them primed and ready off a break.
Former champion trainer Doug Watson has enjoyed success in the Jebel Ali Mile, thanks to the victories of Burnt Ember (2005), Jonquil (2008) and three years ago with the course specialist Shimaal Nibras.
Canvassed, Pat Dobbs mount, makes most appeal of his four-pronged assault. He caught the eye on his seasonal debut, over today’s course, last month when travelling powerfully until lack of fitness told in the closing stages.
He’s entitled to be shaper for the run having been off the track 13 months. On the ratings, he needs to take a step forward but is very unexposed under the conditions and demands respect.
In Race 3, the 1200m conditions race for three-year-olds, Hurry Up, impressive winner of a recent course and distance maiden can justify cramped odds in the hands of Royston Ffrench for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer. The son of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame ran out a comfortable winner, slamming subsequent Meydan winner Meshakel and the favourite Nibraas.
The US-bred Surge, trained at Jebel Ali by Nicholas Bachalard, shouldn’t be overlooked on his racecourse debut. By Frosted, a sire that has made an encouraging start with his early runners, he cost connections $100,000 at Keeneland and his dam won twice and was placed at Stakes level.
Racing begins with a 1400m handicap and Jaber Ramadhan’s Trickbag is fancied to build on the promise of his Jebel Ali debut last month and open his UAE account at the ninth time of asking. Winless since 2018, Trickbag caught the eye behind Dahawi, recovering from a tardy break he ran on strongly in the closing stages.
The winner franked the form when narrowly beaten a competitive 15-runner handicap at Meydan. Trickbag will enjoy the step up in trip and can continue the good form of Ramadhan, a trainer operating at 20 percent strike-rate this winter.
In Race 2, Dark Silver gets the vote in the 1400m conditions race, thirty minutes later. Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, he created a big impression when scoring on his UAE debut here last month despite having plenty to find at the weights.
The selection confirmed he was on an upward curve when narrowly denied by Taamol in a 1200m handicap at Meydan on his latest appearance, 15 days ago. The son of Dark Angel kept on well in the closing stages, suggesting he will appreciate the step up to 1400m, especially over a course with a punishing climb to the winning post.
Dark Of Night, winner of 1600m maiden at Jebel Ali, looks the chief threat. He bumped into a progressive sort on his handicap debut when second to Tailor’s Row, winner of three of his four races this season. Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s four-year-old should put up a bold show in the hands of Fernando Jara.
2 TRICKBAG 3 TOP CLEARANCE 6 SHAJJY 9 ESHTIRAAK
4 DARK SILVER 3 DARK OF NIGHT 5 SHAMIKH 1 CORVAIR
3 HURRY UP 7 SURGE 2 FIRST PROPHET 8 UNCLE HAMAD
12 SECRET AMBITION 4 CANVASSED 5 COURT HOUSE 10 HYPOTHETICAL
4 KANOOD 8 MASAALI 3 MULFIT 1 MAZAGRAN
1 ROUGHER 2 AL BAREZ 4 MAQAADEER 7 TAKE IT THUNDER
2 DAHAWI 3 TANEEN 4 SHANAGHAI CITY 5 ADVENTUROUS
Best Bet: 2 Trickbag [Race 1]
Best Value: 4 Canvassed [Race 4]
Best Swinger: 2 Dahawi and 3 Taneen [Race 7]
Races 4 to 7
Leg 1: 4, 5, 12
Leg 2: 3, 4, 8
Leg 3: 1, 2, 4, 7
Leg 4: 2