Dubai: Jebel Ali specialist Kilt Rock bounced back to his best when waltzing to a four-length victory in the feature race of the afternoon at the hilly track on Friday.
Trained by former champion handler Doug Watson, the six-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway ended a six-race losing streak having earlier strung together four consecutive wins during the 2011-2012 season.
With stable jockey Pat Dobbs riding a confident race, the Pick Six favourite won the Shadwell Handicap as he liked, leaving Murbeh and the locally-trained United Colour to contest the minor placings.
Kilt Rock is owned by the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club (EERC), who were on hand to see their star return to his best form.
“Kilt Rock is a very nice horse and it’s great to win for the Syndicate here,” he said. “There was a public group authority in the paddock out there rooting him home. It’s real nice to have a horse like him. He’s run only bad races when he broke a little slow and got some kickback, which he didn’t like. All the rest of the times he’s been right there,”
Mapping out future plans for the horse that started off rated just 65 and is now a handsome 101, Watson said: “We’ll probably go for the [Jebel Ali Sprint] Prep and then there’s a five furlong handicap on the turf at Meydan if the owners want to go to the Carnival. But he loves this track, so we’ll just see how he pulls out of this and make our decision then.”
Should he be aimed at the Sprint, Kilt Rock is likely to find his nemesis Russian Rock once more standing in his way to greater success, but Watson has a different view.
“You never know with sprinters. I’d say it will be very hard to turn the tables on Russian Rock in the big race [Jebel Ali Sprint]. But it’s sprinting and if there’s a bad break it could go our way, so we’ll probably give it a shot,” he said. “But we’re very fortunate to have him, he’s a nice little horse.”
Meanwhile, the Mubarak Bin Shafya-Adrie De Vries pairing won two races on the day with Periphery and Izzaj, while reigning champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe was also in double-winning form with Latkhaf and Qannaas.
Race 1. HH Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid UAE Breeders Society Challenge (PA Conditions) 1400m (Dirt): 1. AF Kamaash (I Al Hadhrami) S De Sousa; 2. A’Nnabak W’Rsan; 3.Knife; 4. Ma’Eror W’Rsan. Dist: 7.25L, 0.5, 4. Time: 01:48.62s.
Race 2. Al Shafar Investment Handicap (TB) 1600 (Dirt): 1. Periphery (M Bin Shafya) A de Vries; 2. Kessraa; 3. Baransky; 4. Blue Sea. Dist: 0.75L, 0.5, 0.75. Time: 01:38.16s.
Race 3. Shadwell Handicap (TB) 1200m: 1. Kilt Rock (D Watson) P Dobbs; 2. Murbeh; 3. United Colour; 4. Alazeyab. Dist: 4L, 2.5, 1.25. Time: 01:10.94s.
Race 4. Arabian Scandinavian Insurance Company Handicap (TB) 1400m (Dirt): 1. Latkhaf (A Al Raihe) R Ffrench; 2. Special Boy; 3. Momaris; 4. First Knight. Dist: Head, 3.25, 6. Time: 01:25.77s.
Race 5. Commercial Bank of Dubai Maiden (TB) 1600m (Dirt): 1. Qannaas (A Al Raihe) P Hanagan; 2. Chibchan; 3. Fa’Iz; 4. Shark In The Sea. Dist: 6.25L, 2.50, 0.5. Time: 01:39.08s.
Race 6. Frayland Handicap (TB) 1800m (Dirt): 1. Izaaj (M Bin Shafya) A De Vries; 2. Tesslam; 3. Trojan Nights; 4. Mashaaref. Dist: 4L, Short Head, 12. Time: 01:50.03s.