Dubai: Jockey Wayne Smith was in hat-trick-winning form as three track records tumbled on an electrifying day’s racing at the Jebel Ali Racecourse yesterday.
Champion jockey in 2011, Smith booted home Treble Jig, Trojan Nights and Russian Rock in successive races to cap a memorable day for retaining trainer Musabah Al Muhairi and owner Fathi Esaed Mohammad Egziama, who owns the first two winners.
A native of Kildare, Ireland, Smith revived memories of last season where he swept all the three major races run at Jebel Ali — the Jebel Ali Stakes, Jebel Ali Mile and Jebel Ali Sprint. Treble Jig won the first two while Russian Rock was the star of the Sprint.
The jockey signalled his intent to challenge for the 2012-2013 UAE jockey’s championship with solid displays in the saddle, particularly when riding a masterful race aboard Treble Jig to land the feature race of the afternoon — the prep for the Jebel Ali Stakes.
Smith settled the son of Gone West off the pace and was happy to track the main challenge, and front-runner Haatheq, for the better part of the 1,800m trip. But once he asked Treble Jig for his effort two furlongs from home, the horse responded and quickened clear in excellent style to show an outstanding turn of foot and put the race to bed in record time.
“I was never worried about Haatheq making the pace, I always confident with my horse, I know Treble Jig once he gets to the hill he starts to get into top gear, which is what he did and won very well in the end,” said the jockey who has been based in the UAE for the past 14 seasons. “He’s a horse you would like to keep fresh, so while he’s won at Meydan I think we’ll be looking at the big races at Jebel Ali once again and see how it goes.”
Smith followed up his success aboard Treble Jig with a great ride aboard Trojan Nights to deny fancied Mutajare, ridden by two-time British champion jockey Paul Hanagan.
But it was aboard Russian Rock that he really thrilled the full-house crowd with another colossal performance to stave off the fast-finishing United Colour, ridden by Ted Durcan.
“I was pretty confident coming into the race as he’s been working well at home,” said the jockey. “The boss has done a great job with him and rest of the horses.”
Earlier in the afternoon new track records were also established in the opening two events, including the Purebred Arabian race for the UAE Horse Breeders Society by the Gill Duffield-trained AF Lafeh.
Promising apprentice Mark Monaghan was responsible for the second track record of the day when he rode a blinder aboard Tiz Now Tiz Then to land the Al Shafar Investment handicap.
Race 1.UAE Breeders Society Challenge (PA 4yo+) 1400m (Dirt): 1. AF Lafeh (G Duffield) P Hanagan; 2. Bouthayna Al Reef; 3. Wajfah W’Rsan; 4. A’Nnabak W’Rsan. Dist: 2.25L, 0.75, 1.5. Time: 01.33.16s. (New Track Record).
Race 2. Al Shafar Investment (TB 80-95) 1400m (Dirt): 1. Tiz Now Tiz Then (S Seemar) M Monaghan; 2. Kessraa; 3. Kaiss; 4. Art Of War. Dist: 4.25L, 1.25, Neck. Time: 01.22.72s. (New Track Record).
Race 3. Jebel Ali Stakes Prep sponsored by Shadwell (TB Conditions) 1800m (Dirt): 1. Treble Jig (M Al Muhairi) W Smith; 2. Haatheq; 3. Jutland; 4. Storm Ultralight. Dist: 4.25L, 6.5, 1. Time: 01.48.80s. (New Track Record).
Race 4. Arabian Scandinavian Insurance Co. (TB 70-85) 1600m (Dirt): 1. Trojan Nights (M Al Muhairi) W Smith; 2. Mutajare; 3. Ru’oud; 4. Hacienda. Dist: 0.75L, 1.25, 1.25. Time: 01.37.91s.
Race 5. Commercial Bank of Dubai (TB Conditions) 1200m (Dirt): 1. Russian Rock (M Al Muhairi) W Smith; 2. United Color; 3. Kilt Rock; 4. Spin Cycle. Dist: Short Head, 1, 5. Time: 01.10.06s.
Race 6. Al Hudaiba Contracting LLC. (TB Maiden) 1200m (Dirt): 1. Need To Know (A R Al Raihe) H Bentley; 2. Latkhaf; 3. Ballroom Blitz; 4. Journalistic. Dist: 2.5L, 1.25, Short Head. Time: 01.10.97s.