Carnival aspirants contest feature as Jebel Ali prepare for anniversary celebrations

With the racecourse’s Pearl (30th) anniversary approaching, Jebel Ali stage a seven-race card on Saturday, highlighted by a handicap over 1800m in which those at the head of the weights will be hoping to advertise their Dubai World Cup Carnival claims.

Top weight Tenbury Wells is actually already qualified for the carnival and is one of two in the race due to be saddled by Salem bin Ghadayer for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

An excellent second on his local and dirt debut, over 1600m here at Jebel Ali, he then disappointed at Meydan and was subsequently pulled-up on his latest start, back over the Jebel Ali 1600m.

He will be partnered by Xavier Ziani because, for the same owner and trainer, Royston Ffrench has opted to ride Monoski. The 5yo gelding has finished runner-up on both his two most recent starts, including the most latest one over this course and distance five weeks ago.

Bin Ghadayer said: “Both are in good form and should run well as they have shown they can handle the Jebel Ali conditions. It does look a strong race though.”

When runner-up over course and distance, Monoski chased home Prevent, again in opposition for Ahmad bin Harmash with Ray Dawson in the saddle.

Third on his seasonal debut, over 1600m here at Jebel Ali, he was most recently runner-up himself, over this 1800m, three weeks ago.

Doug Watson saddles three with stable jockey, Pat Dobbs, opting to partner Al Murqab with Sam Hitchcott aboard local debutant American Dancer leaving Richard Mullen the spare ride on Exciting Days.

Al Murqab opened his account at the end of October in a 1600m Jebel Ali maiden and has rarely ran a bad race in five course appearances.

American Dancer was thrice a winner in the US whereas Exciting Days won a 1400m maiden on the same Jebel Ali card as Al Murqab was victorious in October.

He looked good that day but was then runner-up in a 1600m handicap and a lacklustre fifth, over 1800m, both back on this course.

Watson said: “We would like to think we have three decent chances in an open race.
“American Dreamer is a new horse for us who has been working well but this will be his first experience of Jebel Ali so we will see if he acts on the surface.
“Al Murqab really likes it at Jebel Ali so this looks a good spot for him.
“Exciting Days won well the first time but has not really built on that. We do still think he is a nice horse and hope he can bounce back.”

Another trainer with three chances is Bhupat Seemar, stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea choosing to ride George Villiers who has not been seen in competitive action in almost exactly a year.

He was second on his only previous Jebel Ali outing, in March 2020, so the conditions should not be an issue but he does not have a great record returning from a break.

Stable companions Miller’s House and Rakeez, the mounts of Antonio Fresu and Pat Cosgrave respectively, both arrive with strong recent form.

Rakeez won on his most recent appearance, a 1600m maiden here at Jebel Ali three weeks ago, whereas Miller’s House has finished third and second on his two most recent appearances, both at Meydan.

The latter will be trying the ‘Jebel Ali hill’ for just the second time having made his local debut here in October 2020, well beaten in a 1000m maiden. His recent efforts suggest this test, assuming he handles the surface, could prove ideal.

Seemar said: “George Villiers is a class horse as he has shown on numerous occasions but is entitled to improve for this run after a break.
“Rakeez won well last time but this is a much stiffer task and when we ran Miller’s House over a 1000m he had been showing a lot of speed at home.
“This trip would now look much more suitable and we hope all three go there with a realistic chance.”