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A 1000m handicap is the highlight at Jebel Ali Racecourse’s first meeting of 2017.
Twelve have been declared including Indescribable, trained by Doug Watson.
A four-time winner in England while under the care of trainer Mark Johnston, he was well beaten on his local debut over 1200m at Meydan Racecourse.
He went on to win in style at Jebel Ali over 1000m in November, which is the same distance as Friday’s contest.
“He improved a lot from his first run as most of ours have this season,” said Watson. “He did it nicely last time and hopefully, can continue on an upward curve having had a good break in between runs.”
Indescribable is owned by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti, who is enjoying a fantastic season to date and is also represented by local debutant Ejbaar, trained by Satish Seemar.
The mount of Richard Mullen, five year old Ejbaar looks an interesting newcomer to the UAE and one to keep a close eye on with regards to the rest of the season, especially if showing an aptitude for dirt.
The race is sponsored by Derrinstown Stud; the Irish arm of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s breeding empire.
Sheikh Hamdan is also responsible for two of the runners Taayel and Dairam, both trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri.
The former is the mount of Jim Crowley who is Sheikh Hamdan’s new retained ‘first’ jockey and is all set to make his Jebel Ali debut on Friday.
“Riding for Sheikh Hamdan is a great honour and something I am really looking forward to,” said Crowley, British Champion Jockey of 2016. “Richard Hills is here with me to show me the ropes so to speak and advise me which is of great help.
“Hopefully we have picked the right one in Taayel and it would be a perfect start to my Jebel Ali career to ride the feature race winner for the boss.”
Previously retained as a jockey by Sheikh Hamdan, between 1995 and 2012, Richard Hills is now his assistant racing manager.
Al Mheiri also saddles Sheikh Hamdan’s second runner, Dairam, the mount of the owner’s ‘second’ jockey, Dane O’Neill, as well as seasonal debutant Conform With Fact.
He will be ridden by stable jockey, Fernando Jara, and will definitely be in contention, having achieved two of his three UAE victories at Jebel Ali, including over track and trip in March 2015.
Dhruba Selvaratnam trains on the Jebel Ali track, primarily for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and they combine with Gobooll, the mount of stable jockey Chris Hayes.
Twice a winner at Jebel Ali in February 2015, both times over 1400m, he is trying the minimum trip of 1000m for just the second time and needs to prove these conditions truly suit him.
The same cannot be said of the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Mutahaddith who trounced eight rivals over this course and distance in a maiden at the very first meeting of last season.
He built on that with two 1200m Meydan victories.
And while his most recent outing was a tough one in the Listed The Garhoud Sprint in which he beat just one, Mutahaddith should find Friday’s race an awful lot easier.
He will be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea who said: “He is a horse I really like as he was my first winner as stable jockey for Ali at Grandstand Stables and then I won twice on him at Meydan.
“He ran well first time this season and we expect him to go well again on Friday.”