Dark Silver Shines In Jebel Ali Feature To Give Jara Perfect Birthday Present

Friday December 18, 2020
Racing at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon, the track’s final meeting of 2020, was officially highlighted by a 1200m conditions race for 3-year-olds and dirt debutant Dark Silver demolished his seven rivals to post a very impressive success.

Formerly trained in Britain by Ed Walker, failing to win in 17 attempts, the Dark Angel gelding made a mockery of that statistic on this his first start for Ahmad bin Harmash. Having raced in midfield throughout the first half of the race, he was then asked by Fernando Jara to chase early leader You’re My Rock, passing that rival, who plugged on for second, with about 250m remaining and was soon clear. Thrice both second and third for previous connections, he now carries the colours of Mohd Khalifa Al Basti having changed hands for what may prove a paltry 23,000gns in August.

Birthday boy Jara said: “We expected a good run certainly, but not to win like that! He had been going nicely at home and he is a horse I ride most mornings, so knew he was training well.

“However, you never know if they will produce it on the track, especially here under totally different conditions at Jebel Ali, but he has relished it.”

A dozen juvenile colts contested the opening 1200m maiden but the vast majority may as well have stayed at home with Mouheeb making an impressive winning debut for racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Trained at the adjacent Jebel Ali Stables by Nicholas Bachalard, the 2-year-old Flatter colt was soon in front under Tom Marquand and, once kicked clear passing the 400m pole, the result was never in doubt with Hurry Up faring the best of the rest. A $400,000 purchase at Fasig-Tipton in June of this year, he could not have made a better start to his career and looks an exciting recruit.

Bachalard said: “We always thought he was a nice horse and he has always trained well at home, so we were quite hopeful coming here.

“It was either the 1600m race at Meydan last night or the 1200m here and we decided on this but he will now have to go up in trip and class.

“We would have to look at the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial I guess, but hopefully he is a horse with a big future.”

A 1200m handicap for horses who had not won a race since 1 April 2019 actually went to maiden, Honorable Justice who was losing his maiden tag at the sixth attempt for Salem bin Ghadayer. Never far off the early pace under Royston Ffrench, the 4-year-old Majesticperfection colt grabbed the initiative from The Song Of John soon after halfway and then had to dig deep to thwart a sustained challenge from Fawarreq who was actually denied the runners-up berth by the fast finishing Salvadori, the first three separated by a head and a nose. Fourth in a 1000m course handicap just last Friday when staying on late, he clearly appreciated the extra 200m here on his second start of the season.

It was a 300th UAE winner for Royston Ffrench who said: “It is great to reach a such a landmark and I have been blessed with some good horses to ride for some great trainers.

“This horse ran very well just here last week and is learning all the time. He always tries hard which is a big help of course!”

Receiving weight from all eight of his rivals in a reasonable quality 1200m handicap, Dahawi was able to take full advantage under a confident ride from Antonio Fresu, riding for his main employer Musabbeh Al Mheiri. Second on his seasonal bow at Meydan in a decent 1200m handicap a month ago, the 4-year-old gelded son of Heeraat was registering a fourth career victory and second for Al Mheiri having landed a 1000m Al Ain handicap in March. He has changed ownership this season though and, currently the only horse to have carried the colours of Abdulmagid Elkout whose silks now have a win and a second from just two racecourse appearances.

Fresu said: “He was second to a good sprinter in Lavaspin at Meydan last time, form which entitled him to win this race which he has done nicely.

“He was improving at the end of last season and continued to do so over the summer. I was always happy throughout the race and he is versatile tactically which is a big advantage.”

A capacity field of 14 lined up for a 1600m maiden restricted to 3-year-olds and it proved the perfect opportunity for Dark Of Night to finally get his head in front after 11 previous runs. Unplaced in four British outings for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin, the Dark Angel gelding was purchased by Nasir Askar and sent to Musabbeh Al Mheiri. Second to the same owner’s Comamnding in a 1600m Meydan maiden on his local debut, he was third behind the same horse under identical conditions in the UAE 1000 Guineas before, over 1900m, finishing second in the Al Bastakiya Trial. Third, albeit a distant one, on his seasonal return in a 1600m maiden at Meydan a fortnight ago, he made no mistake here under Antonio Fresu who asked him to close from midfield halfway up the long straight. Approaching the final 300m, only Far Sky was left in front and, under Fresu’s urgings, Dark Of Night had that one’s measure inside the final 150m to win relatively comfortably at the line, completing doubles for the jockey and trainer Al Mheiri.

Al Mheiri said: “This horse has run many good races and I am delighted for him, his owner and everyone involved now that he has now managed a win.”

The concluding 1600m handicap was won in determined fashion by Habah, the only filly among the eight runners and always seemingly in control once hitting the front with 300m remaining under Pat Dobbs, riding for Doug Watson in the colours of Ali A Aneizi. A 4-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy she was challenged by Final Rock, but saw off that rival inside the final 100m and he only just held onto second from Eshtiraak, a stable companion of the winner. On her tenth racecourse appearance, it was a second career success, adding to her victory in a 3-year-old fillies’ conditions contest over this course and distance in March 2019. Prior to that, she was fourth in the 1900m Group 3 UAE Oaks at Meydan.

Watson said: “These conditions obviously suit her and it is great for the owners and whole team that she has won again.”