Mirza Al Sayegh, Shareed Al Halawani and other dignitaries during the press conference at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Tuesday.
Amir Naqvi, Sports Editor
Action at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday will send pulses racing with the seven-race card bolstered by two Listed races in the shape of the Jebel Ali Stakes and Jebel Ali Sprint.
Both the races carry attractive purses of Dh500,000 each in a card that has a cumulative purse of Dhs1.4 million.
UAE’s Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s global racing and breeding operation through its subsidiaries including Shadwell Farm and Shadwell, sponsor two of the top three races on the Jebel Ali Racecourse calendar.
Run over 1,950m, the Jebel Ali Stakes has attracted the quality field of 12 runners, while Jebel Ali Sprint has an impressive line-up of eight horses.
Speaking during a press conference held at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Tueday, Mirza Al Sayegh, the Director of the Office of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: “His Highness Sheikh Hamdan is always committed to racing at Jebel Ali Racecourse through breeding operation, Shadwell and Shadwell Farm.
“Sheikh Hamdan has been an ardent supporter of racing at Jebel Ali and it is a venue that is close to him. He has had a lot of success here in the past and we can only hope that he will have more success this Friday on what is a very special day of racing.
“Sheikh Hamdan has been a long-time patron of flat racing, for both thoroughbreds and Purebred Arabians, and takes great pleasure from seeing a racecourse benefit from his patronage,” he added.
Sheikh Hamdan won the Jebel Ali Sprint last year with Alkaraama and the five-year-old returns to defend his title.
Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s charge has run only twice since, finishing a good fourth in the G3 Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday, before being squeezed at the start on his reappearance at Meydan two weeks ago. Back under his favourite conditions here, he should give another bold showing in the hands of Jim Crowley.
His rivals include Doug Watson’s Fanaar, who tries dirt for the fourth time. A Listed winner over seven furlongs in England, he has run well at Jebel Ali before. He will be partnered by Dane O’Neill with Pat Cosgrave on Habub for Mheiri.
A newcomer to the UAE, having previously been trained by Owen Burrows, the well-bred War Front six-year-old runs for the first time since being gelded and tries dirt for the first time. A winner over a mile in the UK, this is also his first try at the minimum trip.
Raakezz will run in the silks of Jebel Ali Racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Resident trainer Bachalard said: “Raakezz in good form but this is a deep field for him with few good runners in it. He is the outsider going into this but he’s definitely a horse that’s in good form and who won at the track before and hopefully that works for him.”
Shareef Al Halawani, Jebel Ali Racecourse manager, said: “We have two of our main races of the season on this card and it looks like it’s going to be very competitive with the kind of horses that have been declared. It’s going to be a great day of racing at Jebel Ali this Friday.”
The Friday meeting will also see the running of another leg of the Purebred Arabian series at the track.
Pat Smullen will be remembered at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, with the management holding a feature race in honour of Jebel Ali Stables’ former jockey and nine-time Irish champion, who passed away in September last year.
Dual Listed features at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday and the speedsters were first up in the 1000m Jebel Ali Sprint which proved a memorable event for trainer Doug Watson who not only saddled the winner, Al Tariq, but provided runner-up Fanaar for good measure.
The Jebel Ali Racecourse will host its final meeting which promises to be one of the more exciting cards of the season with the Shadwell sponsored Conditions Jebel Ali Classic (Silver Jubilee) topping the seven races framed for Friday.
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