As alluded to in the above intro, the first of the season’s three Jebel Ali feature races, the 1950m Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, was the highlight with just five facing the starter including Lost Eden, seeking to become the third dual winner of the race but forced to settle for second behind easy winner Daramethos, ridden with supreme confidence by Antonio Fresu.
Having settled the 5yo gelded son of Sea The Stars stone last, Fresu cruised into contention entering the final 375m before unleashing his mount at the 200m pole, the pair pulling clear in the colours of Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi. Fresu said: “I thought we were a bit unlucky not to finish closer last time and they went pretty quick today which has really suited him.
From about 400m out I was always confident I was going to get there.” With two non-runners, only six went to post for a 1200m handicap in which Tadhg O’Shea always appeared to have the measure of the other five, oozing confidence aboard Naser Askar’s local debutant My Dubawi with the result in no doubt after the Bhupat Seemar trainee hit the front entering the concluding 225m.
Trainer and jockey were later celebrating a double after Three Chimneys Farm’s Green Jacket, a 4yo homebred Curlin colt, displayed a determined resolve to land a maiden over 1800m, digging deep to thwart the late lunge of Alhzeem. Bernardo Pinheiro and Nopoli proved far too good for seven toiling rivals in a 1600m 3yo maiden with a grandiose name, the Zabeel Cup, the pair hitting the front halfway up the long straight before powering clear over the final 250m, the Lope Da Vega colt winning at just the second time of asking for Ismail Mohammed who both owns and trains him.
Just 30 minutes later the trainer was celebrating a ‘comfortable victory double’, this time combining with Fernando Jara who always looked to have matters under control in the following 1600m handicap aboard Saeed Al Tayer’s Justice Protecol, a 4yo Time Test colt, the pair repeating their 1800m victory here of a month earlier.
The only Purebred Arabian race on the card, a 1400m handicap for horses foaled in the UAE, kicked off proceedings with the 16 runners spread all across the track, many in contention at halfway, before AF Hukooma grabbed the initiative about 75m from home, staying on strongly under Ray Dawson for Ernst Oertel and Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda. Dawson bookended the card, nabbing the concluding 1800m handicap on Zucchini for Ahmad bin Harmash and the trainer’s son, Hamdan.
1. AF Hukooma
2. My Dubawi
4. Justice Protecol
6. Green Jacket