Dubai: One of the things that you can be sure of at Jebel Ali Racecourse is that you’re in for some pretty awesome entertainment, which was the case on Friday when the popular racing venue hosted a bumper, action-packed, eight-race card.
The gong for the best performance of the afternoon went to outsider Mark Of Approval, who aced a competitive renewal of the Dh500,000 Listed Jebel Ali Stakes.
A bargain Dh25,000 purchase from the 2018 Godolphin horses in training sale, the six-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid pounced late under a gritty ride by Pat Cosgrave to win by one-and-a-half lengths from another former Godolphin horse, Team Decision.
Favourite Chiefdom, who led for most of the 1,950 metres trip, weakened inside the final half-furlong to finish third.
The winner provided Sharjah-based Bahraini trainer Mahmood Hussain with the biggest win of his career and also Egyptian owner Sayed Hashish with a day to remember.
“We knew he had the quality to win a race like this,” said Hussain, a former jockey himself.
“He has been run consistently ever since I got him from the sales. He won his first start for us (Meydan, October) and has finished third in four starts since.
“He’s not the best of starters but he always finishes his races strong,” he added. “This was his first run at Jebel Ali and I think the course really suited him
The Bahraini confessed the dreams had begun and that he was hoping that he could aim his stable star at the Carnival.
“If his rating goes up (from 88) we would love to run him on Super Saturday and then who knows what will be in store for him.”
Meanwhile, the second feature of the afternoon, the Listed Dh500,000 Jebel Ali Sprint sponsored by Shadwell Farm, was won by Al Karama in the colours of race sponsor Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
This was the second big sprint that Sheikh Hamdan was winning in less than 24 hours following the success of Waady in the Group 2 Meydan Sprint on Thursday night.
There was plenty of engagement between a wound-up crowd and the jockeys with the biggest roars going up for resident Jebel Ali trainer Nicholas Bachalard after Raakezz dead-heated with Attribution in a conditions event sponsored by American thoroughbred giants, Keeneland.
Both horses, and their jockeys Jim Crowley and Xavier Ziani, gamely fought out the finish with the judge failing to separate them after a good deal of time spent in examining the photo-finish.
“It’s better to share the win after such a close race,” said Bachalard. “I thought he (Raakezz) ran a big race, in the end, that’s a good result.”