Claim The Roses Takes Jebel Ali Friday Feature

Racing at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon was highlighted by a 1600m handicap for which a select field of five went to post but only one of them ever led, Claim the Roses, who was sent straight to the front by Xavier Ziani. The 8-year-old gelded son of Speightstown, owned by Hamad Rashed bin Ghadayer, was a first winner for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer since returning from suspension and saddling his first runners for a year. A 1600m handicap winner at Meydan last January, Claim the Roses was doubling his UAE tally over the same course and distance he had made an excellent local debut when chasing home stable companion Frankyfourfingers in the Jebel Ali Mile Prep in December 2017.

Ziani said: “I was actually quite confident today because, though his form this season has not been great, his best efforts last time were very good. He was second to Frankyfourfingers and not beaten far by horses like Capezzano and Secret Ambition, so his ability is there for all to see.”

The opening 1950m handicap appeared to be contested at a generous gallop, with several seemingly determined to lead, which really suited proven, dour, stayer Al Barez. Ridden patiently by Fabrice Veron, sporting the predominantly red silks of Saleh Omar Ali bin Haidar, the 5-year-old gelded son of Big Brown was nearer last then first entering the long straight before making relentless progress on the far rail. They hit the front inside the final 200m, ultimately winning comfortably with the horse registering a third career victory all at Jebel Ali but first for Helal Al Alawi, at the seventh attempt, having won twice for Ahmad bin Harmash.

Veron said: “The trainer told me that this horse really likes this track and told me to stay on the inside to save ground and utilise the rail. All the way up the straight he was staying on strongly and, in the end, we probably won fairly comfortably.”

From his base at The National Stables in Al Ain, Al Alawi seems set to finish the season with a flourish and completed a double when Private Ryan landed the 1400m maiden to open his account at the fifth attempt, second at Jebel Ali. Ridden by Antonio Fresu, the 3-year-old Declaration of War colt took up the running shortly after halfway and showed a very resolute attitude to land the spoils for his owners, Byerley Team.

“The trainer was very confident in fairness and thought he had a lot in his favour today,” Fresu said. “He asked me to track the speed and challenge about halfway which is what I did. In front he was still green and when the others came to him he found more so he should improve for this extra experience.”

Fresu completed a double of his own, landing the concluding 1200m handicap aboard Pinter, who was making it four consecutive victories at Jebel Ali having won three times in six weeks at the turn of the year. Forced to miss his intended engagement a fortnight ago, when found to be slightly lame, the 7-year-old Exceed and Excel gelding has been a real star for Erwan Charpy, who said: “This horse just loves it here at Jebel Ali on the straight course and Antonio knows him so well. He tends to miss the break and needs to be left to find his stride, because he resents it if you try and get after him.”

Last of the main group of runners exiting the home turn, Bosconero was pulled towards the centre of the track by Fernando Jara and the pair powered past numerous rivals throughout the straight to land the 1800m maiden quite stylishly. A 3-year-old gelded son of Teofilo, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi for Humaid Rashed Ali AlRayhi AlAleeli, he was losing his maiden tag at the seventh attempt but just second visit to Jebel Ali.

“He has deserved a win because he has run a lot of good races in the past and everything went perfectly for him today. He has seen the trip out very well so this kind of trip is obviously within his compass, but he has enough speed to cope with a drop in distance.”

The 1800m handicap looked competitive on paper and that proved to be the case with at least half of the 12 runners holding every chance with 300m to run which was the point Bernardo Pinheiro produced Aridity to strike the front. Held up throughout the first half of the race, Pinheiro edged his mount closer after the runners had turned for home and, once in front, they were always holding the final, late, challenge of Gavroche.

Bouresly said: “The jockey seems to get on particularly well with his horse and has given him another great ride on a track that really suits him. This is a nice horse but he does seem to produce his very best form here at Jebel Ali.”

Pinheiro added: “I know this horse well and I think he knows me, so we make a good team. We won this race last year so I knew the extra 200m compared to last time was not an issue. The yard are in good form and I am very grateful for these chances because they have some nice horses.”

Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen are enjoying a fantastic season and combined to land the 1400m handicap with First Down who was doubling his career tally and opening his local one in the process. Having chased the early speed, which was frantic, they were left in front 400m out and just had enough left to repel the late challenge of Spirit of Scotland. Owned by syndicate Touch Gold Racing, the 7-year-old Street Sense gelding had registered his one previous victory on debut, in September 2014, when, for Darley Stable and Thomas Albertrani, beating Godolphin’s subsequent multiple Grade 1 winner Frosted.

“This horse is long overdue a win so I am delighted for the owners who, as you can see, are delighted,” Seemar said. “He has been running consistently well and getting placed, but we thought today might be the day. Happily, it was.”

Mullen added: “All credit to the horse because I was in front sooner than I really wanted but the gap was going to close if I did not go. Luckily the horse has found plenty and bailed me out with his great attitude getting us through.”