Tried And True Tops Jebel Ali Friday Feature

Racing returns to Jebel Ali on Friday, the second meeting this year and since the surface was refurbished. A seven-race card is highlighted by a 1950m handicap for which the maximum allowed field of 16 has been declared and the weights headed by Tried and True.

Owned by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti, Tried and True is one of two in the race set to be saddled by Doug Watson, but is the choice of stable jockey Pat Dobbs. A gelded son of Medaglia D’Oro, he has four UAE victories to his name, including on his seasonal debut over 2000m at Meydan in early November. He also won over this 1950m Jebel Ali course and distance in December 2018. The 8-year-old is joined in the field by stable companion Big Kitten, the mount of Sam Hitchcott who will be having just his second local outing, having made his debut for Watson in a 2000m handicap on the Meydan dirt surface a fortnight ago. A 5-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding, he won twice in Great Britain for William Haggas and remains in the ownership of Hussain Alabbas Lootah.

“Both are working nicely and we hope can run well,” Watson said. “Tried and True won first up this season, but has not really built on that in two more Meydan outings, so we thought we would take him back to Jebel Ali. We were pleased enough with Big Kitten’s first run and have been keen to try him at Jebel Ali which, we hope, will suit him.”

When Tried and True won that course and handicap in December 2018 he was chased home by Galles, one of two in opposition for Salem bin Ghadayer and who receives the vote of confidence from stable jockey Royston Ffrench. Thrice a Jebel Ali winner, each time ridden by Ffrench, he has actually never won anywhere else with two 1800m victories as well as one over this longer trip. A 6-year-old Bernardini son, he has also been placed second and fourth in the two most recent renewals of the course and distance Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, both won by stablemate Montsarrat, who contests the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 on Thursday.

Also based with Bin Ghadayer is Xavier Ziani and he rides the trainer’s second hopeful, Key Bid, who looked an exciting recruit to the UAE when victorious on his second local outing in a Meydan handicap over 2000m in December 2018, when trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, but has not won since. A 6-year-old Dubawi gelding, this will be his fifth outing for his new trainer all this season and was just behind Galles when fifth in the 2019 Jebel Ali Stakes. He meets his stable companion on much better terms here.

The Satish Seemar team are flying, so his three runners merit plenty of respect with Richie Mullen choosing Dubai Canal from the trio. A 4-year-old Nayef colt, he has only had three starts, seemingly handling the Jebel Ali conditions when fourth in a 1600m maiden on his seasonal return before making it ‘third time lucky’ in a 1600m maiden on turf in Abu Dhabi.

Tadhg O’Shea partners his stable companion Flag Festival with the stables’ apprentice Sean Kirrane, fresh from four winners last weekend, aboard the third runner Hishikari.

Another trainer whose horses are running well is Simon Crisford, who relies on 4-year-old filly Starry Eyes, second in a 1600m conditions race for 3-year-old fillies last March on her sole previous Jebel Ali visit. She will be ridden by Megan Nicholls in what is only her second UAE mount.

In a wide-open contest, jockey bookings suggest Woodditton, the mount of Connor Beasley, is the main hope from two runners for Ahmad bin Harmash, with Ali Rashid Al Rayhi also doubly represented. Fernando Jara opts to partner Emirates Empire.