Jebel Ali proves a Good Trip for Al Raihe and Selvaratnam reaches a major landmark

The Jebel Ali Mile Prep, as the name would suggest over 1600m, was the highlight at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon and the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Good Trip opened his UAE account in style under Emirati apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei.

A winner twice in England, Good Trip on his fourth UAE start all this season stayed on strongly in the final 200m to win impressively. Over this stamina sapping 1600m and behind the strong gallop which was evident here, it really seemed to suit him.

“He has run on very strongly in the final 300m,” said Al Mazrooei. “We knew he acted well on this track as he was a close third here two starts ago, before running in the Listed National Day Cup on the Abu Dhabi turf.

“It was a good performance because he had some nice horses in behind him today and I imagine the Jebel Ali Mile and, perhaps, the Dubai World Cup Carnival will be on his agenda.”

Good Trip is owned by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti, as is Say No More who made an impressive winning debut in the 1400m maiden. Trained by Doug Watson he was always going well under Pat Dobbs and, once they hit the front 300m from home the result was in little doubt.

“He has actually been with us just over a year but had a few niggling problems,” said Watson. “He trialed nicely the other day so we were hopeful of a good run and he has delivered.”

The meeting opened with a conditions race over the 1600m, the only Purebred Arabian contest on the card and won emphatically by AF Al Jahed.

Homebred by Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the winner is trained by Ernst Oertel and was a maiden after his first three outings but has now won both his most recent starts.

Sent straight to the front by Richard Mullen, he was never headed and was able to pull clear in the final 200m to replicate an almost identical 1600m victory at Al Ain two weeks ago.

“The blinkers have made a big difference to this horse and helped him get his head in front last time,” said Oertel. “That win did his confidence the power of good and he was impressive today, just as he was at Al Ain.

“There is no definite plan but there is an 1800m race back here at Jebel Ali and we may aim him at that.”

The best of the handicaps was over 1950m and Bluff trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was the hard fought winner.

In doing so Bluff not only opened his own UAE account, but was also a first winner of the season for both Selvaratnam and stable jockey Chris Hayes who has missed most of the campaign through injury.

And Hayes certainly earned his riding fee with Bluff needing rousting along very early in proceedings, before running on well down the outside throughout the final 500m.

They collared Insaany about 100m out, to the relief of connections and also provided Selvaratnam with his 200th winner at Jebel Ali.

“It has been a long time coming, our first winner this season,” said Selvaratnam. “Hopefully this horse can build on it as he is very good, but lazy. The Jebel Ali Stakes could be his next race.”

Hayes echoed those sentiments and said: “Any plan we had went out the window very early as he did not travel well at all.

“I decided to take my time and pull wide to try and deliver one long sustained challenge and it worked."

“He was gelded over the summer and is now very relaxed which he was not last season. We might have to think about headgear for him.”

Tadmir an April winner in China and successful at the first meeting of the UAE season over 1950m here at Jebel Ali, followed up in a handicap over 1800m.

This was his fourth start of the current campaign and on each occasion he has been ridden by Antonio Fresu, to whom trainer Erwan Charpy allocated plenty of the credit.

“We had four in the race but Antonio was very keen to ride Tadmir and suggested we try him in cheekpieces as we did today,” said Charpy.

“This horse just does not travel well in the early part of the race but the headgear seems to have helped and Antonio was right.”

A 1200m handicap, the final race of 2016 at Jebel Ali, was won in style by the Omar Damaj-trained Hyaline and this was the trainer's first ever Thoroughbred winner. Hyaline was always handy if not leading from start to finish under apprentice Ismail Koyuncu.