Dubai: Jebel Ali Racecourse on Thursday unveiled an exciting team of new horses and a revitalised perspective as it ushered in a new era for the 2018-2019 UAE flat racing season.
Acknowledging Jebel Ali’s historic past Racing Manager Mohammad Saeed Al Shehi concurrently focused on the future while highlighting the racecourse’s current transformation under a new trainer, Nicholas Bachalard, and his well-chosen team of stable hands.
Frenchman Bachalard, who assumed charge in April this year, boasts over two decades of experience as assistant to American handlers John Kimmel and French émigré Christophe Clement in America, before taking charge of King Abdullah’s stable in Saudi Arabia, where he saddled over 270 winners.
“We are delighted to have Nicholas on board,” said Al Shehi at a media event at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Thursday morning. “He started here in April and we allowed him to take his time to assemble his team, change a few things in Jebel Ali if needed.
“He travelled with us to England in the summer and helped us select some horse to bring over to Dubai for the new season, this new era for Jebel Ali Racecourse.”
Al Shehi acknowledged the role played by Major General Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, who founded the racecourse in 1990.
“Shaikh Ahmad has been with us through this whole journey. He is the one supporting us and providing us with the necessary resources to make the change,” he continued. “He is always telling us that all he wants is to see his horses run well, not necessarily win. That’s very encouraging.”
Bachalard, who saddled Nashmiah to win the UAE 1000 Guineas last season, said he was in no hurry to prove himself at Jebel Ali.
“We’ll start slowly and eventually by the end of November, early December our horse will be ready to run,” he said. “I don’t think we have any specific strategy. We will just try to concentrate on Jebel Ali, win some races here, and then, of the horses are good enough, take them to the Carnival.
“But out main aim is to be competitive and do what’s best for Shaikh Ahmad, for Jebel Ali. We will try to put our horses in races that they can win. “We will travel to Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and do what’s best for the stables,” Bachalard added.
“As long as the horses can improve from their races that’s important, because the season is short and long at the same time.
“I believe that the horses will dictate what they can do and take us to where they deserve to go. The Carnival, World Cup, who knows.”
Bachalard also revealed that Chris Hayes will return as stable jockey at Jebel Ali Stables.
“Chris Hayes, for me, was the wise choice, because he knows most of the horses already and it was a good option for us.
“We also have some French and Colombia work riders. We have a strong team behind us and haven’t changed too much at Jebel Ali. We just was to try to continue what was done before and get better, if possible.”