Classy Jebel Ali handicap features clash between proven experience and untapped potential

Saturday’s third Jebel Ali meeting of the new season, a six race card, all for Thoroughbreds, is highlighted by a 1600m handicap for which eight have been declared, the weights headed by the admirable Bochart.

Trained by Bhupat Seemar for the Al Bait Mutawahed Team, the 9yo gelded son of Dubawi has been a great servant since arriving at Zabeel Stables and for his current owners, having arrived as a maiden after nine starts for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby.

He now has nine victories to his name, three at Jebel Ali, including his most recent success, over this 1600m course and distance, in March. He also won twice, over 1200m on the Meydan dirt, at the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Tadgh O’Shea rides Bochart with the stable apprentice, Connor Planas aboard Seemar’s second runner, Melicertes, a handicap winner over this track and trip in February but well beaten on his reappearance, again over this 1600m at Jebel Ali, a fortnight ago.

The heroine of the 2020 Group 3 UAE Oaks, which she won by more than 18 lengths, Down On Da Bayou did not win again until last December, landing a handicap over this Jebel Ali 1600m. She later scored again in a similar race, over the same trip, so clearly handles the Jebel Ali conditions well.

A 5yo daughter of Super Saver, prepared by Salem bin Ghadayer for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, she was well beaten on her reappearance at Meydan, a fortnight ago, but, if able to get an uncontested lead, could be hard to peg back with conditions to suit.

The unknown quantity among the octet is Mersaal, trained on the Jebel Ali track by Michael Costa for racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. A 4yo gelded son of Ghostzapper, he made a belated winning debut over 1200m on this his ‘home track’, stretching clear over the final 150m in a manner suggesting the extra distance here will not inconvenience him.
He literally ‘could be anything’ but this handicap assignment is a lot tougher than the one he conquered in an average maiden first time out. Stable jockey Jean Van Overmeire again rides.

Also a Jebel Ali maiden winner this season, in his case over 1400m, Anbar carries the colours of Al Rashid Stables, who have enjoyed a bright start to the campaign, as has his trainer, Doug Watson and jockey, Pat Dobbs.
A 4yo Bodmeister gelding, he was winning at the seventh attempt when scoring at the end of last month, three weeks ago, and may well be able to build on that.

Naser Askar’s Syrtis ran well for a long way before tiring on his seasonal reappearance, over this track and trip, two weeks ago. It was a promising effort after 230 days off and he should strip fitter on this occasion. Adrie de Vries again rides for Ahmed Al Shemaili.

The field is completed by the Rashed Bouresly duo, Shanty Star and course and distance winner Aridity, the mounts of Richard Mullen and Ray Dawson respectively.
Both are making their third starts already this season so could have a race fitness advantage over some of their rivals, especially seasonal debutant Bochart.