Fresu and Daramethos ease to Jebel Ali big race victory

The first of the season’s three Jebel Ali feature races, the 1950m Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, was the highlight on Saturday afternoon’s card with just five facing the starter including Lost Eden, seeking to become the third dual winner of the race but forced to settle for second behind easy winner Daramethos, ridden with supreme confidence by Antonio Fresu.

Having settled the 5yo gelded son of Sea The Stars stone last, Fresu cruised into contention entering the final 375m before unleashing his mount at the 200m pole, the pair pulling clear in the colours of Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi.

A closing third to Lost Eden, in the 1800m prep for this a month ago, he reversed that form in style and looks a nice staying prospect for connections.

Fresu said: “I thought we were a bit unlucky not to finish closer last time and they went pretty quick today which has really suited him. From about 400m out I was always confident I was going to get there.”

With two non-runners, only six went to post for a 1200m handicap in which Tadhg O’Shea always appeared to have the measure of the other five, oozing confidence aboard Naser Askar’s local debutant My Dubai with the result in no doubt after the Bhupat Seemar trainee hit the front entering the concluding 225m.

A 4yo Dubawi gelding, the winner was recording a fourth career success, adding this to a trio of victories in the UK for Saeed Suhail and the Johnstons, each one on an all-weather surface.

O’Shea said: “That was a very good start to his UAE career. He was supposed to run in December but had a slight setback but everything has fallen into place today.
“He had been working very well but they need to do it on the track which he has. He could be a Jebel Ali Sprint horse.”

Trainer and jockey were later celebrating a double after Three Chimneys Farm’s Green Jacket, a 4yo homebred Curlin colt, displayed a determined resolve to land a maiden over 1800m, digging deep to thwart the late lunge of Alhzeem.

Bernardo Pinheiro and Nopoli proved far too good for seven toiling rivals in a 1600m 3yo maiden, the pair hitting the front halfway up the long straight before powering clear over the final 250m, the Lope Da Vega colt winning at just the second time of asking for Ismail Mohammed who both owns and trains him.

Just 30 minutes later the trainer was celebrating a ‘comfortable victory double’, this time combining with Fernando Jara who always looked to have matters under control in the following 1600m handicap aboard Saeed Al Tayer’s Justice Protecol, the pair repeating their 1800m victory here of a month ago.

A 4yo Time Test colt, he has now won three times having also scored over 1400m on the Chelmsford all-weather, as a 2yo, in September 2021.

Jara said: “This mile really seemed to suit him, better than the longer trip we won over last time and he seems to just be improving. He had a lot of weight so that was a good performance.”

The only Purebred Arabian race on the card, a 1400m handicap for horses foaled in the UAE, kicked off proceedings with the 16 runners spread all across the track, many in contention at halfway, before AF Hukooma grabbed the initiative about 75m from home, staying on strongly under Ray Dawson for Ernst Oertel and Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda.

Homebred, the 6yo entire was doubling his career tally on just his sixth outing having won a 1400m Al Ain maiden on just his second start in March last year.

The concluding 1800m handicap also went to Dawson, combining with Ahmad bin Harmasj in the colours of the trainer’s son Hamdan aboard Zucchini.