Draco Looms Large In Jebel Ali Feature; Big Brown Bear Preps For Carnival In Handicap

Racing at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon is highlighted by a 1400m conditions race in which seven will go to post, including Draco, who trained on the track by Nicholas Bachalard for racecourse patron His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The 4-year-old Astrology colt looked very useful winning his first two local starts, both at Jebel Ali but was then well beaten in a 1600m handicap at Meydan in the Dubai World Cup Carnival. The return to his ‘home track’ and 1400m both appear in his favour.

Bachalard said: “He has been in good form all season and that was a strong race he contested at Meydan against horses like Secret Ambition and Capezzano, who have won the Jebel Ali Mile and another carnival handicap respectively since. This 1400m is perhaps his optimum trip and he should go well in a good contest with some good horses in opposition.”

For Satish Seemar, Surfer is the class act in the race having landed the 1600m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 in 2015, but the 10-year-old was never competitive on his return, after 666 days off, in the National Day Cup on the Abu Dhabi turf. This is actually his first appearance at Jebel Ali and regular jockey, Richard Mullen, is aboard.

“We hope the straight 1400m at Jebel Ali will suit him,” Mullen said. “He is a very good horse on his day and seems in great form at home, so hopefully he can at least be competitive.”

Victorious at Sharjah on his penultimate start, Mystique Moon was perhaps unlucky more recently when, having found traffic problems, fifth in a 2000m handicap at Meydan during the carnival. Ridden on both those occasions by Sam Hitchcott, stable jockey Pat Dobbs takes over here and trainer Doug Watson also saddles Lytham St Annes with both horses owned by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti.

“Both mine are in good form and should run well,” Watson said. “Lytham St Annes is a Jebel Ali winner and we know he likes it there whereas Mystique Moon is having his first run there but we think it will suit him.”

Half an hour earlier Dobbs and Watson combine with the exciting Big Brown Bear who the trainer has always maintained is a Dubai World Cup Carnival horse. He qualified for the international jamboree with a hard fought 2200m dirt victory at Meydan when forced to pull out all the stops by Quartier Francais who was a good second over an inadequate 1600m at the same track last Saturday.

That victory was a brave effort from Watson’s 4-year-old Tiznow colt and he faces just four rivals on Friday in, despite the small field, appears a very competitive 1800m handicap.

Watson said: “Big Brown Bear is a horse we have always really liked. Hopefully, this is a good spot for him and we will find out if he handles the conditions at Jebel Ali.”

It certainly provides him a great opportunity to further prove his mettle with the opposition including Bois De Boulogne, seeking victory at a third consecutive Jebel Ali meeting for Sandeep Jadhav and Xavier Ziani with Royston Ffrench aboard stable companion Galles.

Jadhav said: “Both love it at Jebel Ali and are in very good form so, we hope, should run well in a good little race.”

However, in what could almost be a Jebel Ali Stakes Prep, J Be Space, like Surfer to be ridden by Mullen for Seemar, could be the main danger arriving here after a comfortable 1900m maiden victory at Meydan.