Mystique Moon Shines Bright In Jebel Ali Feature

Racing at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon was highlighted by a 1400m conditions race and Mystique Moon produced a compelling performance to win comfortably, and record his second victory of the season having scored in a 1700m handicap at Sharjah on his penultimate start.

A dual winner for Godolphin on the all-weather when landing his first two career starts for Charlie Appleby in early 2017, the aforementioned Sharjah victory was his first since and on his second outing for Doug Watson and Mohd Khalifa Al Basti. Confidently ridden by Pat Dobbs, actually aboard the 5-year-old Shamardal gelding for the first time, he made smooth progress at halfway before sprinting past Draco, who kept on well for second, passing the 300m pole after which the result was never in doubt.

Watson said: “He has been working like a nice horse all season and won a nice race at Sharjah at the end of December before contesting a carnival handicap last time when the 2000m might have been a bit too far. Hopefully we can find something for him at the carnival because it would be great to win with him there for Mr Al Basti.”

Dobbs added: “He hit the gates quickly today which he did not do at Meydan last time, so I was just happy to let him stride on which he enjoyed and then he really quickened nicely.”

Out of luck with Draco, the ‘home team’ of racecourse patron His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Nicholas Bachalard who trains the owner’s horses on the Jebel Ali track and stable jockey Chris Hayes only had to wait 30 minutes for some compensation with the smooth success of Salayel in a 1200m conditions race for 3-year-olds. One of two fillies in the field of nine, all of whom were maidens at the outset, she fulfilled the promise of her second four weeks ago in a similar race, over 1000m, won by subsequent Meydan Classic Trial winner Golden Jaguar.

A 3-year-old daughter of Bated Breath, she was purchased for €200,000 as a juvenile at Goresbridge in May and this was her third career start having struggled on debut in a 1600m fillies’ maiden at Meydan in December.

“We have always liked this filly, but it took her a while to acclimatise,” Hayes said. “From a bad draw she needed the experience badly at Meydan and we actually expected her to win last time, but we bumped into a good horse. She is only going to improve with time and experience because she is still strengthening up and hopefully is a nice filly for the future.”

The opening 1950m maiden was won in determined fashion by River Of Gold who, having tracked early leader Compliance throughout the first part of the race, was sent for home fully 300m out by Tadhg O’Shea, but only finally saw off that determined rival in the final 75m. From the back, both Wings Of Gold and Sword Of Truth were finishing well, but unable to deny Compliance who hung on grimly for second. Trained by Satish Seemar for Nasir Askar, the winner, a 4-year-old gelded son of New Approach, was having his sixth career start, fifth for new connections and paying a second visit to Jebel Ali having finished fourth, over 1600m, on his penultimate outing.

O’Shea said: “He ran well here two starts ago and the hill suits him because he is a galloper, but does not really quicken which is why I was keen to be positive on him. He showed a great battling attitude there because Compliance was tough to get past.”

Seemar added: “He does seem to prefer it here at Jebel Ali, so I imagine we will try and find another suitable race for him back here.”

Cape Of Eagles registered his third Jebel Ali victory, his total career tally of the season, with a relatively comfortable success in a 1950m handicap, his second course and distance victory having also landed a handicap over 1800m at the very first meeting of the UAE season in October. A 5-year-old Cape Blanco entire, that 1800m success was achieved on his first start for Helal Al Alawi with Billy Lee, sporting the predominantly red silks of Saleh Omar Ali Bin Haidar, in the saddle for all three victories and each of his six runs this season.

“He seems to relish these smaller fields as opposed to the 15 or 16 runners’ races, Lee said. “He loves it here and that hill really suits him. Hopefully he can win another one.”

The 1800m handicap attracted just a field of four and only two of them ever really looked like winning with local debutant, Almushref, leading until Galles swept past 200m out to put the race to bed in a few strides under Royston Ffrench. A 5-year-old Bernardini entire, Galles has only ever won at Jebel Ali where he was registering his third victory.

Jadhav said: “He had been a bit disappointing lately, but we know likes it here and credit to Royston because the plan was to lead early on, but he realised Almushref was going quickly enough, so took his time.”

Ffrench added: “Almushref was keen to get on with things, so I was happy to take a lead from him. We have always liked this horse and, now he has put his head back in front again, hopefully he can run well in the Jebel Ali Stakes in which he was second last year.”

Arroway completed a double for the trainer, scoring decisively in a 1600m handicap under Xavier Ziani, the pair going one place better than when second a fortnight ago in a handicap over 1800m.

A 4-year-old Kitten’s Joy colt, he was doubling his career tally having made a winning racecourse debut, as a juvenile, over 1000m here at Jebel Ali, in November 2017. Drawn one, Ziani was always prominent before finding a gap on the rail when they shot clear and always looked likely to hold on.

Ziani said: “He was a bit unlucky last time, so I am delighted he has managed to get another win because he is a nice horse who, like so many of ours, seems to prefer it here at Jebel Ali. He used to be tricky in the stalls, but we have ironed that out which is a big help in these competitive big field races. Hopefully he can follow this up.”

The finale, a 1000m handicap, provided veteran Alraased the perfect opportunity to bounce back to winning ways. The 10-year-old gelded son of Exchange Rate storming clear at halfway and running on far too strongly for his 15 opponents. Ridden by Jim Crowley for his main employer, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, it was a sixth career success for the gelding, fourth in the UAE and third at Jebel Ali having registered his last victory, over 1200m, here in March.