Feature Story



A meeting highlighted by the 1000m Listed Jebel Ali Sprint and the progressive Road Bloc was always in control once grabbing the initiative just inside the final 200m. Partnered by Oscar Chavez for Osama Refai, in the colours of Sayed Hashish and Mrs Hana Refai, the 5yo gelded son of Street Sense began the season as a maiden, after one start in the US, making a winning local debut over 1400m on the dirt at Meydan Racecourse.

Two starts later he doubled his tally, over 1200m at Sharjah, in the HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, the first leg of the Emirates Sprint Series. This was the second so connections not only won the Dh300,000 first prize but also a bonus of Dh250,000 for winning both races.


Hashish said: “We have had a great season with sprinters, both this one and Colour Up who were first and second over 1400m for us in the same race in November. Both have just continued improving and we hoped this straight track would suit Road Bloc, trying 1000m for the first time. Luckily it has!”

The main support race, the Jebel Ali Classic, a 1400m conditions contest went to Naser Askar’s admirable veteran Secret Ambition who hit the front about 175m from home and clung on grimly to complete a double on the card for Bhupat Seemar. Now a 10yo, the entire son of Exceed And Excel has now won 12 times, all bar one of those victories in the UAE for current connections, dating back to a handicap success over this course and distance at the end of October 2016.

He also won the 2019 Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, 2021 Group 3 Firebreak Stakes and that year’s Group 2 Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card, the previous time he had visited the winner’s enclosure. Jockey Richard Mullen said: “I was struggling early on but I knew if I could latch on to the leaders he would battle and that is exactly what he did. He is a jockey’s dream as he always tries so hard.”

For 3yos, the opening 1600m maiden was snatched close home by debutant Ghazzwaan who always seemed to be travelling well under Tadhg O’Shea before seemingly hitting a ‘flat spot’ inside the final 400m. Once regaining momentum, the Saxon Warrior colt devoured the ground over the steepest part of the hill to ultimately win cosily for Seemar in the colours of Mohammed Khaleel Ahmed.

Debutant Thawban, trained at the adjacent Jebel Ali Stables by Michael Costa for racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed, was the impressive winner of a 1200m maiden under the owner’s retained jockey Jean van Overmeire. Settled behind the leaders throughout the first half of the race, the 3yo Good Magic colt quickened to the front about 275m from home and always looked in control thereafter. Costa said: “He has been showing us plenty at home so we came here quite confident and he has not let us down.”

For 3yo fillies, a 1400m conditions race was turned into a procession by Hunting Lady who was never going to be caught once storming to the front inside the final 175m under Ray Dawson, riding in the colours of Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabousi for Ahmad bin Harmash. Previously winless after four starts, the daughter of Munnings best previous effort was when third, on the first day of the year, in a 1200m maiden on her only previous Jebel Ali outing.

Earlier on the card, Justice Protecol and Fernando Jara landed a 1600m handicap for Ismail Mohammed and Saeed Al Tayer. It was a fourth course success of the season for the progressive individual. The final race of the Jebel Ali campaign, a 1950m handicap developed into a duel over the final 100m, Attribution’s brave attempt to lead throughout thwarted close home by National Bank, Pat Dobbs in the saddle for Doug Watson and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.