Horseracing - Secret Ambition wins Jebel Ali Mile
Secret Ambition, wining the 2019 Jebel Ali Mile, is a frontrunner to do it again on Friday. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: Jebel Ali Racecourse hosts its seventh meeting of the season where the highlight is the 10th running of the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile Sponsored by Shadwell, the most prestigious race in the venue’s annual calendar.

The contest has attracted a classy field of 12 contenders, led by 2019 winner Secret Ambition who races out of Satish Seemar’s Zabeel Stables and who will be ridden by eight-time UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea.

Other notables in the race include the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained British raider, Court House, who was runner-up in the Winter Derby Stakes (G3) on the all-weather at Lingfield last February and Salem Bin Ghadayer’s recent Meydan scorer Hypothetical.

Secret Ambition, who will attempt to become the fourth dual winner of the race, has the benefit of a run this season where he finished a competitive second in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile at Meydan in December.

Seemar, who also saddles Ode To Autumn and Above Normal, said: “I have always been in favour of him running in the Jebel Ali Mile and I was keen for him to run here and I am very thankful to his owner Nasir Askar for agreeing to let him run in this race.

I have always been in favour of him running in the Jebel Ali Mile and I was keen for him to run here and I am very thankful to his owner Nasir Askar for agreeing to let him run in this race

- Satish Seemar, trainer of Secret Ambition

“Above Normal and Ode To Autumn are familiar with the track and are always racing seriously here. I always prefer to race horses that have done well on a particular surface to bring them back and let them race at courses that are familiar to them unless there are big gaps and there aren’t any races for them.”

Doug Watson has four chances in a race his Red Stables has won thrice, most recently with Shamaal Nibras in 2018 for EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club).

He saddles Grand Argentier for the same owners and Adrie de Vries takes the ride.

Gabr, is the mount of Dane O’Neill riding for his main employer Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, as well as Galvanize and Canvassed, the mounts of Sam Hitchcott and Pat Dobbs, respectively.

Watson commented: “Secret Ambition is going to be very hard to beat, but we have four nice horses who all hold a chance. Hopefully one of them can step up and land the prize.”

Alkaamel is one of the two in the race for Musabbeh Al Mheiri who is the most successful trainer in the race and is seeking a fifth win since 2011. He also introduces local debutant Deemster, formerly trained in France by Andre Fabre for Godolphin. Ryan Curatolo rides the latter with Antonio Fresu having opted to partner Alkaamel.

“Deemster is a new horse us and we are still learning about him,” Al Mheiri told the ERA. “We need to see how he copes with the surface and hill, so this looked a good opportunity to try him.

“Alkaamel was a pleasing second at Meydan last time so arrives in good form and should run well because he is basically a straightforward, tough, honest horse.”

Royston Ffrench and Salem bin Ghadayer team up with Hypothetical, an impressive winner on his local debut over 1600m at Meydan where he was chased home by Alkaamel.

A four-year-old Lope De Vega colt, he is owned by Sheikh as is stable companion Blown By Wind, the mount of Xavier Ziani. Bin Ghadayer said: “They are two nice, new horses in the yard this season and both pleased us on their local debuts at Meydan.

“We are looking forward to stepping them up in class, but Jebel Ali conditions are very different, and it looks a tough race this year.”

Big race jockey James Doyle takes the ride on Court House, who will be making his dirt debut and first in the colours of Rabbah Racing.

Ed Crisford said: “We also entered him at Meydan in the Maktoum Challenge, but opted for Jebel Ali, as has Secret Ambition, so it looks a strong race.

“At least we will find out if he handles the Jebel Ali surface and the stiff 1600m should suit him at the trip as he has won over 2400m. If the track suits him, the 1950m Jebel Ali Stakes could be an option looking ahead.”

GN selections

Race 1: 1. Trickbag; 2. Fawaareq

Race 2: 1. Corvair; 2. Dark Silver

Race 3: 1. Hurry Up; 2. Uncle Hamed

Race 4: 1. Secret Ambitionl 2. Hypothetical

Race 5: 1. Masaalil; 2. Kanood

Race 6: 1. Maqaadeer; 2, Rougher

Race 7: 1. Dahawi; 2. Shanaghai City

Day’s Best: Secret Ambition