Sprinters in spotlight as Jebel Ali season draws to a close

Saturday’s final Jebel Ali fixture of the season is a good one, seven races highlighted by the 1000m Listed Jebel Ali Sprint which has attracted a field of 14, including the two most recent winners, both trained by Doug Watson.

Last year it was Shadwell’s Khuzaam that landed the AED500,000 feature and he has only run twice since, both times on the Meydan Racecourse turf track – in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on last year’s Dubai World Cup card and, 321 days later, in the Group 2 Blue Point Sprint.

The homebred 7yo gelding will be partnered by the owner’s retained jockey Dane O’Neill.

Watson’s stable jockey, Pat Dobbs was in the saddle when Khuzaam won last year and, like the American handler, the jockey is also seeking a third straight success in the race and is aboard the 2021 winner Al Tariq.

Also a 7yo gelding, he has won thrice since, including both the 2021 Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint and 2022 Group 3 Dubawi Stakes, both over 1200m on the Meydan Racecourse dirt track.

He has not really threatened in his three outings this season but his Jebel Ali record is impressive: two wins and a second after three course appearances.

Shadwell also have Zawaaya in the field, the mount of Richard Mullen and one of three set to be saddled by Bhupat Seemar,. The 4yo made his local and dirt debut a fortnight ago when fourth in a 1200m Meydan Racecourse handicap but appears to have been overlooked by both O’Neill and Tadhg O’Shea on this occasion.

The latter partners Seemar’s Leading Spirit, impressive winner of a course and distance handicap a fortnight ago, his second success under these conditions.

The third contender from Seemar’s Zabeel Stables, Shamlaan, has the assistance of Pat Cosgrave for what will be just his third UAE outing. Under O’Shea, on his most recent appearance, he was one place and less than a length behind Zawaaya in the aforementioned 1200m Meydan Racecourse handicap two weeks ago.

Runner-up on that occasion was Vasari who should again go well here, Antonio Fresu riding for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, his sole representative in a race the trainer has provided the winner on six occasions since 2007.

For Ahmad bin Harmash and Ray Dawson, Story Of Light was the impressive winner of the official prep for this a month ago, chased home by Royal Commando, again in opposition.

One of two in this field for Salem bin Ghadayer, the latter is the choice of Royston Ffrench with Xavier Ziani aboard stable companion Meshakel. Neither can be ruled out in what appears a very competitive renewal.

As a 3yo, albeit foaled in the southern hemisphere, Fast Uno receives weight from his rivals and both his career victories, in his native South America, were registered on dirt.

Trained by Antonio Cintra, this will be his first racecourse start over 1000m but he has shown plenty of early speed in three of his four local starts.

This race is the second and final leg of the inaugural Emirates Sprint Series with Road Bloc, victorious in the first round, the HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, a 1200m conditions race at Sharjah, seeking a bonus if he can follow up.

The mount of Oscar Chavez and trained by Osama Refai, this will be his first try over 1000m but he certainly should not be ruled out.