Golden Jaguar
Phoenix Ladies Syndicate's Golden Jaguar Image Credit: Phoenix Ladies Syndicate

Dubai: Golden Jaguar, one of the stars of last season, makes his seasonal debut at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, where he faces nine rivals in the featured Shadwell Farm Conditions Stakes over seven furlongs.

Owned by the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate, the son of Dubai World Cup sensation Animal Kingdom showed plenty of potential when making a winning debut at Jebel Ali in January last year before going on to repeat the feat at Meydan Racecourse in the Meydan Classic Trial.

He was then pitched in to Pattern race company where he was beaten a neck in the Listed Meydan Classic. In his fourth and final start of the campaign, he performed below expectations to finish last of 14 in the Group 2 UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night.

Trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash put a line through that performance and said that he was hoping Golden Jaguar would mature into a better athlete for the 2019-2020 season, where a big-race campaign is very much on the agenda.

“His main aims will be on the grass this season, but this race looks a good starting point for him and he did win here last season,” said Bin Harmash, who operates out of the Al Aasfa Racing Stables.

“It’s going to tougher for him this time around having to take on older horses, but he is very talented. Hopefully, he can prove to be up to the challenge.”

Commenting on his charge’s condition and physical development ahead of his seasonal bow, Bin Harmash said: “He’s certainly filled out his frame a little. It’s hard to tell how much he’s improved as he has never really shown us his true potential in the mornings. Everything has gone smoothly and he’s ready to start his season.”

Among Golden Jaguar’s nine rivals is the Irish trained Inverleigh, who represents Fazza Stables boss Salem Bin Ghadayer while in-form conditioner Doug Watson has genuine claims with last year’s Jebel Ali scorer, Habah.

Bin Harmash acknowledged that the a seasonal debut can go this way and said that — win or lose — Golden Jaguar will come on for the run.

“For his first run back, it’s not essential he wins,” he said. “We hope he finishes in the top three. After this, we are looking at a Listed race at Abu Dhabi and all things being well, we’ll look at the turf mile races at the Carnival.”

Golden Jaguar will be ridden by Connor Beasley and the feature is scheduled for 3.15pm.

Friday’s card also features the first Purebred Arabian race of the season at Jebel Ali. Always a well-sought out event given the large population of Arabian racehorses in the Emirates, a full field of 16 runners will face the starter.