Dubai: Shamaal Nibras is a star who has stayed competitive and relevant for years. On Friday, the 11-year-old will bid to secure a place in the record books by winning the Jebel Ali Classic (Silver Jubilee) Sponsored by Shadwell for the third consecutive year.
Raced by Doug Watson and owned by the ultra-successful Emirates Entertainment Racing Club, Shamaal Nibras faces 15 rivals in the showpiece event of a bumper eight-race card being held at Jebel Ali Racecourse.
Racing will take place behind closed doors and without spectators.
Victory in the Classic will provide the perfect swansong for the popular galloper who is expected to retire after the race.
Leading UAE handler Watson and Satish Seemar are mob-handed in the race with five and four runners each.
“We have a nice bunch in a race we have been lucky in,” said the Red Stables boss Watson. “Shamaal Nibras loves it at Jebel Ali and has been a great horse to have in the yard.
“Mystique Moon also goes well at Jebel Ali but Thegreatcollection is racing there for the first time, so we will see how he handles it.
“We have not had Fanaar long, but he is a nice horse having just his third start for us. This will be his dirt debut, but he works well on it at home and won on the all-weather in Britain.”
Seemar’s quartet are led by local debutant Medahim, the mount of stable jockey Richard Mullen, with championship pacesetter Tadhg O’Shea aboard Pilgrim’s Treasure, a course and distance winner for the jockey on his penultimate start.
Riflescope is the mount of Fernando Jara, with Ode to Autumn to be ridden by Fabrice Veron and completing the Seemar quartet.
Assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar, said: “Medahim is a new horse, but he has been working very well and we are looking forward to running him. “Ode to Autumn arrives in great form and Pilgrim’s Treasure is another course and distance winner, while Riflescope also goes well at Jebel Ali, so we hopefully have four strong chances.”
Emirati handler Musabbeh Al Mheiri saddles Thammin and Tashweeq for owner and race sponsor Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
“Both are training well, but this looks a strong race so we will be hoping for a bit of luck in the race,” he said.
The main support race is the Shadwell Farm Conditions Stakes which is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.
Watson and Seemar again supply the numbers with two runners each. Mullen rides Madame Ellingtina for Seemar with O’Shea aboard Amani Pico. Meanwhile Pat Dobbs has elected to ride Tapi Sioux for Watson with Sam Hitchcott aboard stable companion Raahia.
The British Embassy, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and Newbury Racecourse sponsor three of the meet’s eight races, while Shadwell and its associates generously supporting the remaining events.
Race 1 1. Arch Gold, 2. Tailor’s Row
Race 2 1. George Villiers, 2. Dehbashi
Race 3 1. Native Appeal, 2. Gold Stick
Race 4 1. Medahim, 2. Shamal Nibras
Race 5 1. Falcon Claws, 2. Midnight Deal
Race 6 1. Tapi Sioux, 2. Amani Pico
Race 7 1. Leadership, 2. Dark Thunder
Race 8 1. Dahawi, 2. Davy Lamp
Day’s Best George Villiers