Feature Story



By Duane Fonseca -

With two wins in as many starts over a mile up the punishing Jebel Ali surface, Swing Vote (William Buick), jointly-trained by the fatherson combination of Simon and Ed Crisford looks the most likely incumbent for the venue’s biggest race of the season, the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile. Now, the time has come to prove if the five-year-old Shamardal gelding can indeed justify the hype he’s built up.

We think he can. No, we think he will. And not just us, nearly all of the racing junta at Jebel Ali are bound to have him onside after witnessing him account for a posse of strong divisional milers who had proved themselves time and again over the UAE’s most demanding finish. Frankly, it’s hard to look beyond the Crisford trainee in this year’s renewal with his first two performances defying belief, particularly the second, the Prep for this, where it looked like he teased and toyed with the field before putting the race to bed in a matter of strides. Having said that, it might be perfect for this preview to end here. But that’s not how the way things work and even though Swing Vote crushed the field to win by four lengths from In Crowd, who reopposes here like many others from that group, it is imperative for the opposition to be fairly assessed. Swing Vote might have beaten a number of prominent names, but he’s never gone up against a Michael Costa trainee and that changes this Saturday when American import Home Brew (Ben Coen) carries the colours of the home team who last won the race in 2017 with the mighty Forjatt.

The five-year-old Street Sense gelding changed ownership and transferred from US trainer Brad Cox’s yard in November 2023 and was seen finishing 10th behind Al Nefud in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile. Having perhaps had little time to acclimatise, he could be excused for that performance, but overhauling Swing Vote will need a gargantuan effort and with the Crisfords’ charge showing little reverence for his rivals, Home Brew’s record of 9:5-1-0 will amount to nothing if his actions don’t speak louder than the numbers. Musabbeh Al Mheiri saddles last year’s Listed Jebel Ali Stakes and subsequent G2 Dubai City of Gold third Daramethos, who was third behind Swing Vote and Salem bin Ghadayer’s In Crowd last time out.

The latter also dispatches Tenbury Wells, twice second behind the protagonist this season when lacking both stamina and spirit. Two time winner over the Meydan mile, Al Jaddaf represents the in-form yard of Ahmad bin Harmash, but has little experience of the hill having finished fifth down the chute over 1400m in October 2022 on his only ever start here, while his Emirati compatriot Al Mheiri has another hope in Qareeb, who won over 1950m here on January 27, with the outing almost surely a way of gaining match fitness for next month’s Listed Jebel Ali Stakes.