Al Tariq for winning return

Al Tariq for winning return


Ed Marnane: The return of the smart Al Tariq, trained by Doug Watson, is the headline act at Jebel Ali on Friday.

By Oasis Dream, Al Tariq emerged an exciting, new star in the sprinting division last season, winning the Jebel Ali Sprint (Listed) and Al Shindagha Sprint (Group 3) at Meydan on Super Saturday. Stepping up to Group 1 company for his final appearance of the campaign, he wasn’t disgraced behind Zenden, finishing 10 lengths behind the shock US sprinter after an awkward start in the $1.5m Golden Shaheen.

Al Tariq, returning after an eight-month break, faces seven rivals in Race 3, the 1200m rated conditions, which has attracted some useful sprinters. He has the services of Pat Dobbs and is fancied to start his campaign with a bang before tackling the major sprint prizes later in the season.

The former Roger Varian-trained Khuzaam is a fascinating runner for Watson. Winner of four of his 12 races in Britain, he has thrived since having a breathing operation and has developed into a very smart performer. In April, he routed his rivals in the All-Weather Mile Championships, defeating Mums Tipple by five lengths.

Rated 116, Khuzaam steps down in grade for his local and dirt debut, and this strong-travelling gelding demands respect, and gives Watson a potent hand in the race.

Irish rider Ray Dawson has made a good impression in his first stint this winter in the UAE. He rides the unexposed Story of Light for his main employer Ahmad bin Harmash and could give the Watson pair most to do. Formerly trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, he caught the eye on his local and dirt debut behind Ababil at this course last month on his first start for Bin Harmash.

Expressionist, the mount of Richard Mullen, replacing Tadhg O’Shea, is closely matched with Story Of Light on their form behind Ababil. The son of Night Of Thunder may struggle to uphold the form on the revised terms and it’s clearly significant O’Shea has jumped ship to partner Leading Spirit, one of two runners for rookie trainer Bhupat Seemar.

Leading Spirit has a decent record at Jebel Ali, winning a handicap before running third behind Alkaraama the Jebel Ali Sprint in February last year. However, he was badly out of sorts last season, failing to make any impact in all three outings. He merits consideration if he retains his old dash and is back to his best.

Dahawi, trained by the in-form Musabbeh Al Mheiri, has the benefit of a recent run four weeks ago in a competitive 12-runner handicap, shaping as he would strip fitter for the race. He can boast winning form over the course and distance and has the services of Antonio Fresu, a rider banging in the winners recently and level with O’Shea at the top of the jockeys’ table. In receipt of 6 kg from the Watson pair, he appeals as an each-way bet at decent odds.

Madkhal, trained by Fawzi Nass, progressed nicely last season, winning twice at Meydan and earning a tilt at the Burj Nahaar (Group 3), a traditional local trial for the Godolphin Mile.  He failed to make any impact behind Midnight Sands, trailing in 24 lengths behind the favourite. The five-year-old’s record at Jebel Ali is an obvious negative, showing little in two previous appearances.

Racing kicks off with a 1400m maiden and Bhupat Seemar’s new recruit Yurman, formerly under the care of Mike de Kock, looks the one to beat on his Jebel Ali debut after a lengthy layoff. He showed a decent level of ability last season, most notably when third behind the smart Godolphin pair Naval Crown and Master Of The Seas in the Meydan Classic (Listed). If he handles the undulations of Jebel Ali, he should be able to justify favouritism in the hands of stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea.

Watson’s lightly raced Express Route with Dobbs up is the biggest danger. He arrives in good heart, starting his campaign on a positive note when just failing to see off the late challenge of his stable companion Exciting Days four weeks ago. He’s proven at Jebel Ali and has sound claims of turning over the favourite.

A full field of 14 has been declared for the 1600m handicap, Race 6. The unexposed, well-bred Law Of Peace, by Shamardal out of a Group 1 winner, can build on his pleasing comeback and open his account on dirt at the fourth time of asking. He’s entitled to strip fitter here and should appreciate step up in distance.

The Doug Watson-trained pair Exciting Days and Torno Subito heads the list of dangers, with preference for the latter, the mount of Pat Dobbs. He showed a likeable attitude when scoring on his local debut here last month, his first appearance following a 460-day break. Having only had six starts, he’s open to improvement and is nicely drawn in stall No 4, unlike the selection who jumps from stall No 14.


Best Bet: 1 Express Route (Race 1)

Best Value: 7 Dahawi (Race 3)

Best Swinger: 1 Law Of Peace and 3 Exciting Days (Race 6)



(Races 3 to 6)

Leg 1: 1, 3, 7

Leg 2: 1, 3

Leg 3: 4, 5, 6

Leg 4: 1, 3, 14



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