Dubai: Trainer Nicholas Bachalard is hoping to score a sentimental victory in the Pat Smullen Conditions Stakes, a race sponsored by Jebel Ali Racecourse and named in honour of the multiple Irish Champion Jockey who passed away last year.
Smullen was a resident jockey at Jebel Ali Racecourse for two seasons in 2000 – 2002 during which time he made a lasting impression on racing fans in the UAE when riding a record 32 winners.
Bachalard, who saddles leading chance Shamikh, paid tribute to the Irish great and said: “It is a great initiative by the racecourse to honour Pat Smullen, who was a top stable jockey here and it is a race obviously the whole Jebel Ali family would like to win.
“Shamikh is a big horse, but we expect him to handle the bend and we know the surface suits him. The 1600m should not be an issue and we are hoping he can at least go close.”
The 1600m conditions race has attracted a field of 13 including a pair of notable miles trained by former champion handler Satish Seemar, dual course and distance winner Mazagran and debutant Remorse.
Jockey Tadhg O’Shea is again in the saddle aboard Mazagran and said: “The return to 1600m should certainly suit him and he is working well, so we have to be hopeful of a big run.”
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Bachalard also appears to have strong claims in the main support race, a 1400m conditions event, for three-year-olds. “There are not many races for the three-year-olds, so this is a good opportunity and we think he has a good chance,” said the trainer.
Keeneland, an internationally renowned racecourse and the thoroughbred industry’s leading auction house, have been a long-time supporter of racing at Jebel Ali and make their annual return to lend their name to a Conditions event where Uncle Hamed and Rare Ninja should fight out at the finish,