29 October 2015

Its Deja Vu for Mizbah and Fityaan as Racing Returns to Jebel Ali

2015-16 UAE Season Kicks Off Friday

Twelve months ago Mizbah and Fityaan were both winners at the opening meeting of the season and the pair will attempt to repeat the feat as racing returns to the UAE at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon.

Mizbah, trained by Doug Watson for EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club), landed the opening 1950m handicap last term and will face six rivals as he bids to follow up.

It was to be the horse’s only win of the season but he only disappointed once in seven subsequent outings and should go close again.

“We know he goes fresh as he showed last year,” said Watson. “He looks reasonably treated at the weights and is in good form at home. A lot will depend on tactics and how the race pans out but we have to be hopeful of a big run.”

Richard Mullen rides Mizbah while Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, who was in the saddle 12 months ago has been claimed to ride Street Act for his new boss, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

Ironically, it was Street Act who chased home O’Shea and Mizbah last year, having won the same race in 2013 so he too clearly runs well fresh.

“I won the race last year on Mizbah,” mused O’Shea. “He looks the one to beat again but my fellow has conditions to suit and is fit and well.”

That race is sponsored by Shadwell Stud, the UK division of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s breeding empire who also back the official feature on the card, via the Irish arm, Derrinstown Stud, in the shape of a 1000m handicap.

The sponsor has actually owned the last two winners of this particular race, both prepared by Champion Trainer, Musabah Al Muhairi, including last year’s victor, Fityaan.

He bids to win again with the owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, again in the saddle. Al Muhairi also saddles top-weight, Rafeej, for the same owner and it would be no surprise if they were to dominate.

Sheikh Hamdan actually supplies four of the seven runners with Al Raihe supplying the other pair with O’Shea aboard Nawwaar and apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei on Mujaazef.

“Both our pair are working well,” said O’Shea. “Nawwaar has shown his best form on turf but this looks a good race to start him back.

“Mujaazef has won over course and distance but will be having his first run since contesting this same race last year.”

Should the Sheikh Hamdan quartet fail to land the spoils, Watson and EERC may provide the biggest danger in the shape of Kilt Rock. Another course and distance winner in the field, he chased home Rafeej on his most recent start and has five Jebel Ali victories to his name.

“He normally needs his first run but is pleasing us in his work,” said Watson. “He gets weight from Rafeej and Fityaan which is a bonus and should run well.”

Dhruba Selvaratnam, who trains on the track for racecourse patron HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, supplies the other two runners with Roicead and Sheikh Ahmed’s Morawij.

Both are entitled to need the run with Morawij the mount of new stable jockey, Chris Hayes and Sam Hitchcott aboard Roicead. Hitchcott’s mount was third in this race in 2013 and fifth last year, a place ahead of the aforementioned Kilt Rock.