Ed Marnane: A double at Meydan on Saturday extended Salem bin Ghadayer’s lead at the top of the first trainers’ title.
The Emirati handler, seeking his first trainer’s title since taking out a licence in 2014, is sending a big team to Jebel Ali on Friday, saddling nine runners.
He will be hoping to get among the winners over a track he has found a happy hunting ground this season, highlighted by the victory of Blown By Wind in the Jebel Ali Mile (Group 3).
Bin Ghadayer and Royston Ffrench team up with Hyde Park in the opening race, a 1400m handicap. Impressive winner of a handicap, over the same course and distance two weeks ago, he can defy a big hike in the weights and follow up.
The seven-year-old, who made all the running to win eased down, was finally opening his UAE account at the sixteen time of asking.
Six days after finishing a creditable fourth behind Madkhal at Meydan, Shanty Star merits respect.
Trained by Rashed Bouresly, he’s a versatile sort and switching to Jebel Ali isn’t a concern.
It would be foolish to ignore the claims of Vasari, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri. He has progressed with racing since transferred to the UAE, impressing when easily winning a maiden at the track.
Race 3, the 1400m conditions race for three-year-olds, looks a good opportunity for Tahdeed to open his account on the back of three solid efforts, both here and at Meydan.
Trained at Jebel Ali by French native Nicholas Bachalard, he ran well when a staying-on fourth behind Topper Bill in the Dubai Trophy, a performance that caught the eye having missed the break. The form of the race was given a boost when the winner followed up in the Meydan Classic trial next time. The step up to 1400m will help Tahdeed, especially over a stiff track.
The second conditions race, over 1600m, thirty minutes later, has attracted a field of 13, many representing top stables in UAE. The race is named after the late and much missed Pat Smullen, a true gentleman and a rider that enjoyed success in the UAE during his illustrious career.
The exciting Shamikh, winner of two of his three races, is unbeaten at Jebel Ali and comes here on the back of a resounding victory here last month. Always travelling strongly, he readily drew clear and crossing the line had five lengths to spare over Dark Silver. Shamikh will take plenty of stopping and should put up a bold show.
Mazagran, who began his career under the care of legendary French trainer Andre Fabre, has done well for his new trainer Satish Seemar, winning twice at Jebel Ali, since being purchased at the Racing in Dubai Sale in September last year.
On his latest appearance, he failed to see out the 1950m of the Jebel Ali Stakes (Listed), dropping away after being prominent. Stepping back to a mile and dropping in class, he should go well in the hands of champion jockey elect Tadhg O’Shea.
Mazagran’s companion Remorse, the mount of Richard Mullen, is an interesting runner on his local and dirt debut since being acquired at Tattersalls Horse In Training Sale at the end of his three-year-old career.
By Dubawi out of the Queen Mary winner Jealous Again, he doesn’t seem to be blessed with her speed and in five starts in France he was campaigned over middle distance. He’s entitled to need the race following a four-month break.
Alfareeq, who makes his Jebel Ali debut, is clear on the ratings but will need to improve based on recent evidence. Formerly trained by Freddy Head in France, he has failed to fire in two starts on turf at the Dubai Carnival, albeit in competitive handicaps. By Dark Angel, a sire with a decent record on dirt in the UAE, he isn’t a forlorn hope in a race few hold decent claims.
At big odds, Dark Of Night could appeal to each-way backers, despite having plenty to find with Shamikh on their recent clash and needing to bounce back after a poor showing behind Dehbashi over 1800m. He has enjoyed success at Jebel Ali and will be suited going back to a mile.
The afternoon ends with a 1950m handicap, a race that has drawn a competitive field. The unexposed Book Review, trained by Salem bin Ghadayer, bids to follow up his mightily impressive win (made all) at Meydan, in which he lowered the track record when opening his account. He has big chance of taking his UAE tally to two under Royston Ffrench, the season’s leading rider at Jebel Ali.
Doug Watson, who landed the Jebel Ali Sprint (Listed) with Al Tariq two weeks ago, runs the lightly raced Pharoah King, the wide margin winner of a handicap at Al Ain on his UAE debut. Having only had four lifetime starts, he’s open to plenty of improvement and clearly has leading claims for his in-form yard.
Best Bet: Tahdeed [Race 3]
Best Value: 6 Trickbag [Race 1]
Best Swinger: 3 Shamikh and 2 Mazagran [Race 4]
Leg 1: 4
Leg 2: 2, 3, 5
Leg 3: 1, 3, 9, 11
Leg 4: 4, 5, 6, 9
4 HYDE PARK 6 TRICKBAG 15 SHANTY STAR 12 VASARI
13 YOU’RE MY ROCK 16 APOLO KID 2 MAYAADEEN 3 WUFUD
4 TAHDEED 6 UNCLE HAMED 3 RARE NINJA 5 TALO
3 SHAMIKH 2 MAZAGRAN 5 DARK OF NIGHT 4 ALFAREEQ
3 KINGDOM OF DUBAI 1 ROUGHER 9 AL BAREZ 11 DRESS COAT
6 BOOK REVIEW 4 PHAROAH KING 9 SA’ADA 5 MUDALLEL