Dubai: There may have been no spectators to cheer them on, but jockeys like Pat Dobbs, Richard Mullen, Tadhg O’Shea and others nevertheless produced some inspiring performances at Jebel Ali Racecourse’s penultimate meeting of the 2019-2000 UAE racing season on Friday.
The Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) had issued an official ban on the public attending race meeting across the country as the UAE continues its effort to control the spreading coronavirus, which meant that Friday’s eight-race card was held behind closed doors.
But that did not take anything away from the quality and competitiveness at what proved to be a thoroughly entertaining afternoon’s races.
The 1,400 metre Derrinstown Handicap, the feature race of the day, went to the Satish Seemar-trained Ode to Autumn, who was powerfully ridden by stable jockey Richard Mullen to see off a tenacious Al Tariq, the mount of Pad Dobbs.
Ode To Autumn made most of the running before Al Tariq threw down a strong challenge closer to home. But Mullen’s mount had enough in the tank to hold his position and cross the finish and win by a length.
“The trip and track played to his strengths,” said Mullen. “Seven furlongs suits him. He’s a big horse who can get into a nice rhythm and use his stride. He was a willing partner.
“It’s nice to get another win on the board for the boss in his quest to win another trainers’ championship.”
Seemar, who is seven winners clear of his nearest rival Doug Watson (33 wins) commented: “He’s a perfect Jebel Ali horse.
“Once you find a horse that likes Jebel Ali you have to keep bringing him back here and not worry about the other racecourses.
“To win carrying 61 kilo was a big effort especially when you come up the hill. If he does that again, I believe that he can go up to the next level.”
Watson may have been denied on that occasion but he would go on to assert his stable win the subsequent three races, before Seemar hit back by taking the eighth and final race on the card with Amani Pico and Tadhg O’Shea.
Megdam was a particularly impressive, winning of the Emirates NBD Handicap under a confident Pat Dobbs, encouraging Watson to describe him as a horse for the future,
“I like the way he went through the horses,” said the Red Stables-based American handler.
“He can be a bit nervous at home but he’s maturing and will come on for his runs.”
Watson other wins came with Arch Gold (Dobbs) and Native Appeal, the mount of Sam Hitchcott.
“He had a good draw and Sam gave him a great ride,” said Watson after Arch Gold comfortably saw off Tailor’s Row and Right Frank.
Kuwaiti owner-trainer Rashed Boursely completed an early double winning two races after Ernst Oertel landed the opening Purebred Arabian handicap
Jebel Ali Racecourse will host its final meeting of the season on March 20, where the feature race is the Jebel Ali Classic.