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The final meeting of the current Jebel Ali season on Friday afternoon is highlighted by the inaugural edition of the AED250,000 Jebel Ali Silver Jubilee Stakes, a 1400m conditions contest in which the weights are headed by Forjatt.
A dual winner of the 1600m Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, including this year, he is owned by racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and trained on the track, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, by Dhruba Selvaratnam.
The mount of Chris Hayes, he is penalised for his big race victory in January after which he was second in the 1950m Listed Jebel Ali Stakes.
“Obviously he has a penalty which makes life more difficult as it did in the Jebel Ali Stakes last time,” said Selvaratnam. “The trip is very much his minimum now but he is in great form at home and this looks a good opportunity to get one more run into him this season.
“He does not seem to like the dirt surface at Meydan so we were not tempted by the Godolphin Mile.”
One place behind Forjatt in both the Jebel Ali Mile and Stakes was Shamaal Nibras, to be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for owners EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) and Doug Watson.
He was twice in front of Forjatt, on the Abu Dhabi turf, late last year and his only dirt victory was achieved over this 1400m course and distance.
“It looks a nice spare ride and I have enjoyed a lot of success with Doug and the owners over the years,” said O’Shea. “Hopefully they go pretty quick as I am sure we will be staying on strongly.”
Watson and his Red Stables team actually saddle five of the 16 runners with stable jockey, Pat Dobbs, electing to ride Stunned, a course and distance winner in December and a 1400m Meydan victor on his penultimate start.
Also based at Red Stables is Sam Hitchcott who partners Mutasayyid, yet to race at Jebel Ali but who arrives on the back of a 1600m turf success at Meydan.
“All five of mine seem in good form,” said Watson. “Obviously it is the last chance to get a run into them this season and I would guess Stunned, Mutasayyid and Shamaal Nibras would be the main three.”
Mutasayyid is one of four owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose Shadwell Farm, the US base of his breeding empire, sponsor the race.
His first jockey, Jim Crowley, elects to ride Mushaakis, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and a course and distance winner two weeks ago.
“He seems to save his very best for Jebel Ali and is twice a course and distance winner,” said Crowley. “It is a good race but he arrives in fine form so, hopefully, I have picked the right one.”
Also retained by Sheikh Hamdan is Dane O’Neill and he sides with the Maria Ritchie-trained Shaishee, without a victory since landing the equivalent race on this card 12 months ago.
He also holds the 1400m Jebel Ali track record which has stood since Jan 2014 when he won a handicap.
Stable companion, Art Wave, the mount of Fernando Jara is another Jebel Ali specialist, while the Fawzi Nass-trained Krypton Factor was a 1200m winner on this card last year.
And if they were not enough, the Satish Seemar team are flying so his Ahlan Emarati, the mount of Richard Mullen, has to be considered despite finishing well behind Mutasayyid last time.
The 1600m probably taxed his stamina on that occasion and this trip could suit but he was well beaten on his one previous dirt and Jebel Ali outing.
That was his seasonal debut though, in November, and he may have needed the run.