Dubai: Jebel Ali Racecourse hosts one of its biggest meetings of the season, a first-ever eight race card which is highlighted by two Listed races – the Jebel Ali Stakes Sponsored By Shadwel and Jebel Ali Sprint Sponsored By Shadwell Farm.
Emirati handler Salem Bin Ghadayer sends out the favourite in both contests, Chiefdom and High On Life respectively, but all eyes will be on another Fazza Racing Stables galloper, Montsarrat who seeks a slice of history.
The seven-year-old son of Poet’s Voice is bidding to become the first horse to win the Dh500,000 Jebel Ali Stakes for a third consecutive season.
However, standing in his way and the record books is stable companion and Jebel Ali Mile winner, Chiefdom, who will be ridden by Bin Ghadayer’s stable jockey, Royston Ffrench.
Bin Ghadayer, who is also represented by debutant Magnificent McCool, said: “These are Montsarrat’s optimum conditions and this has been his target again all season. He should run well.
“Chiefdom has enjoyed a stellar season and loves it at Jebel Ali. The longer trip might be a question mark and he does have a penalty, but he is in good form.
“We have not had Magnificent McCool long, but he seems a nice horse and we will see how he goes.”
Doug Watson saddles 2018 scorer, Shamaal Nibras, who was runner-up to Chiefdom in the Jebel Ali Mile, and Just A Penny, fifth in that race and second to Montsarrat in the Jebel Ali Stakes last year.
Watson commented: “Both are in good form at home and seem to save their best for Jebel Ali, so we are hoping for good runs in what looks a strong renewal.”
Also two-handed in the race is current UAE trainer’s championship leader Satish Seemar, who sends out Irish Freedom (Richard Mullen) and 2018 Al Bastakiya winner, Yulong Warrior (Tadhg O’Shea).
The Jebel Ali Sprint was won last year by Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Thammin who will also bid for a piece of history by becoming on the fourth dual winner of the 1,000m dash after Try Prospect, Russian Rock and Morawij.
Al Mheiri also saddles Taneen (Dane O’Neill) and Alkaraama, the mount of Antonio Fresu.
“All three of mine are proven at Jebel Ali,” the Oasis 1 Stables boss said.
“Thammin obviously won this last year and Taneen is also a course and distance winner. Alkaraama was second on his debut for us over this 1000m Jebel Ali trip and we are keen to run him back there.”
Seemar, whose has his string in fine order takes his chance with Leading Spirit (Mullen) and Lavaspin (O’Shea).
He commented: “Both have shown good form at Jebel Ali and are good, solid sprinters who are still improving as they have not had much racing.”
However, the horse that is likely to be sent off as the favourite is Bin Ghadayer’s High on Life returns to dirt after running a competitive sixth behind Waady at the Dubai World Cup Carnival last Thursday.
Bin Ghadayer said: “We keep trying to win this race and High On Life was third in 2017 and second in each of the last two years.
“Hopefully he can finally land the prize. Neverland Rock is a horse we want to try at Jebel Ali, so this is a good opportunity.”
Friday’s eight race card also see the all-powerful Keeneland thoroughbred racing empire from Kentucky in the US makes it sponsorship debut.