٢١ يناير ٢٠٢٤

ERA Jebel Ali Review

The 2024 running of the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile looks certain to head Simon and Ed Crisfords’ way after Swing Vote showed in a course and distance prep he is more than capable of landing the feature event in a little under three weeks’ time on February 10.

To say the four-year-old Shamardal gelding won the Shadwell-sponsored prep at the same venue on Saturday by a cosy four lengths is an understatement. To be fair, Swing Vote did it with great élan.

Going from last to first with a smooth shift of gears under Adrie de Vries, Swing Vote was simply unstoppable and showed so much more progress than when winning over C&D on his UAE debut three weeks earlier. This time too he beat the same opponent: Salem bin Ghadayer’s Tenbury Wells, with his timing marginally quicker by 0.06s, but it was highly impressive and it took Swing Vote’s career record to 6:4-0-0.

Formerly trained by Andre Fabre in France for Godolphin, he had won his first two starts before finishing fifth of eight behind eventual Arc winner Ace Impact in a Listed event at Chantilly last May.

And that class has been clearly evident in the UAE. After jumping well at Jebel Ali on Saturday, De Vries let him settle at the rear of the field to a pace set by Ismail Mohammed’s Justice Protecol. Tenbury Wells was second in the hands of Xavier Ziani, while, making the turn, Swing Vote was last of all, a near-dozen lengths off the pace. 

De Vries gave Swing Vote a proper nudge at the 600m marker and finding the scenic route the best way forward, the Dutchman decided to take his mount for a bit of a spin. Tenbury Wells seemed at least five to six clear at the 200m marker with Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Daramethos in hot pursuit, but with just 100m left, Swing Vote hit the front and pulled clear with absolutely no fuss to win by four lengths despite being eased off by his rider.

“He will definitely be headed for the Jebel Ali Mile and we will see how he comes out of the race, but he did a very good job there,” commented Ed Crisford.

Winning rider De Vries added: “He was absolute class and he showed he can go further as he did not stop at the finish.” 

The Listed Jebel Sprint will be contested on the same day as Mile and its prep too was held on the same card in the form of the 1000m Emirates Airline Cup, which was won by Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Rawy, who missed the break but enjoyed a stress free run under Oscar Chavez throughout and finished with two-and-a-quarter lengths to spare from Al Tariq, trained by Doug Watson and ridden by Pat Dobbs. A further length-and-a-quarter behind in third was Story Of Light for Ahmad bin Harmash and Connor Beasley.

The afternoon got underway with the Wathba Stallions Cup sponsored by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Racing Festival 1200m maiden (4yo+), which was won by Majed Al Jahoori’s Jina’an, who flew to finish seven lengths clear of Rashad Al Wathba (Ibrahim Al Hadhrami/Beasley). 

Shanaghai City (Omar Salas) pulled off a surprise for the Ras Al Khaimah based operation of trainer Rashed Bouresly when winning the  1200m Al Shafar Investment Cup (0-80, 3yo+) by a length and three fourths from Addicted To Chaos (Marwan Al Baidhaei/Gabriele Malune), while the other C&D sprint, the 1200m Zayed Ambition Cup by Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (NW, 3yo) went the way of the hosts with Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s resident trainer Michael Costa’s Turjman bolting home under Tom Marquand to finish seven-and-a-quarter lengths clear of Bin Harmash-trained Where’s The Wayya (Beasley).

The 1600m Emirates NBD Cup maiden was contested after the co-features and witnessed De Vries claiming a second success of the afternoon aboard Fawzi Nass’ El Introvertido, who put a classy six-and-a-quarter lengths between himself and second placed Watson trainee The Magical McCool (Dobbs).

Bin Harmash managed a 16th winner for the campaign after Cosmic Desert (Saif Al Balushi) struck in the concluding 1950m Romeo Interiors Cup (0-85), battling Costa-trained Makfoul (Marquand) all the way to the finish.