Forjatt Produces Goods For Home Team in Showpiece Jebel Ali Mile

The biggest race of the Jebel Ali Racecourse season, Friday’s Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, was won by ‘the home team’ with Forjatt, who was contesting the race for a fourth consecutive season, landing the spoils.

Owned by racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and trained on the Jebel Ali track by Dhruba Selvaratnam, Forjatt won the race in 2014 and was again first past the post in 2015.

He was subsequently disqualified on the latter occasion, having tested positive for a prohibited substance and was then second last year.

With the whole Jebel Ali team celebrating their 25th anniversary this season, it was a fitting result for all concerned. Having been settled well off a frantic early pace, Forjatt made smooth progress under Chris Hayes about 500m out.

With 300m to run, Sam Hitchcott went for home on the Doug Watson-trained Shamaal Nibras and it was soon apparent the only danger was Forjatt.

Asked for his effort by Hayes, Forjatt soon took over the initiative and was always holding the renewed challenge of Hitchcott’s mount.

“It is an amazing result and a dream come true to win this race again during such a special year,” said Selvaratnam. “He was unlucky last year when my jockey, Chris Hayes, dropped his whip and he was disqualified after winning this in 2015 due to a medication issue."

“He was actually my first winner of this particular race when scoring in 2014 and had been working well but we have had a poor season so far, so it was hard to be confident. He did it well and we are all delighted.”

Hayes added: “This is horse is a real favourite in the yard and something of a legend. The run in the trial put him spot on for today and he has really battled over the last 400m."

“It is a great result for the whole team at Jebel Ali.”

The main support race was the finale, a 1000m conditions contest over the same course and distance as the Jebel Ali Sprint and two previous winners of that Listed dash, Spin Cycle and Morawij, were among the 11 runners.

For the vast majority of the contest it appeared the latter, winner of the feature sprint last year for the Sheikh Ahmed, Selvaratnam and Hayes triumvirate, would prevail but he was snared in the dying strides by Mushir.

Trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he was registering a third consecutive victory, all at Jebel Ali, and for a different rider each time.

The owner’s recently appointed number one jockey, Jim Crowley was aboard on this occasion and followed in the footsteps of George Buckell and, most recently, Dane O’Neill, by winning on the progressive sprinter.

Only five went to post for the opening 1950m handicap but it provided an intriguingly tactical affair with Crowley trying to dictate matters from the front aboard Insaany, one of three in the race saddled by Doug Watson.

However, he was constantly harried by Brabbham, representing the Ahmad bin Harmash and Colm O’Donoghue combination who landed Thursday’s Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan Racecourse in the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

With about 300m left, O’Donoghue drove his mount to the head of affairs and soon had Insaany in trouble so it was left to Pat Dobbs and another Watson contender, Tried And True, to throw down the last, but ultimately fruitless, challenge.

“He just loves it here and is a very genuine horse, perhaps even too much so,” said O’Donghue. “He has stayed the trip well and deserved another win this season having also scored over 1800m, here at Jebel Ali, three starts ago.”

The following 1600m handicap may have had a far bigger field, with the maximum 16 going to post, but it was won in almost carbon copy fashion by O’Donoghue, this time riding for Ismail Mohammed aboard Intense Effort.

Happy to take a lead from Wheat Sheaf throughout the first part of the race, O’Donoghue took his mount to the front, seemingly effortlessly, halfway up the long straight and they never looked likely to be caught.

It was a second career win for Intense Effort who landed a 1200m Jebel Ali maiden in November and was a close third on his most recent outing in a 1400m course handicap.

“I was always travelling well and he has done that nicely,” said O’Donoghue. “He stayed on strongly over 1400m last time and the extra 200m was not an issue this afternoon.”

Ajwad set a furious gallop in a 1400m maiden but was always being stalked by Richard Mullen aboard the Satish Seemar-trained Raconteur and they hit the front inside the final 200m to make the horse’s second local outing his first victory on his seventh career start.

Seemar wasted little time completing a double, actually saddling the 1-2 in the following 1200m handicap with apprentice Cameron Noble aboard the victor, Hammurabi who was chased home by stable companion, So Noble the mount of Marc Monaghan.

“He has improved a lot fitness-wise from his last start and won well today to give me my first Jebel Ali winner,” said Noble. “We were drawn on the right side and he carried me there so strongly we probably hit the front too soon but he kept on going.”