Horseracing - Shamikh wins Pat Smullen Stakes
Jockey Ryan Curatolo winning the Pat Smullen Stakes at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday. Image Credit: ERA

Dubai: The Jebel Stables-trained Shamikh fittingly won the inaugural Pat Smullen Conditions Stakes, a race named to honour the former multiple Irish champion jockey who passed away last year.

The race was sponsored by Jebel Ali Racecourse, where Smullen rode many of his 32 winners during the 2000-2002 seasons as retained jockey for Major General Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, owner of the popular race track.

Ridden with aplomb by Ryan Curatolo in the same yellow silks that Smullen donned during his UAE stint, Shamikh finished the 1600 metre contest strongly crossing the line three and-a-half lengths clear of Remorse, the mount of Richard Mullen.

Like Smullen did during his formative years, Curatolo is fast earning respect as a jockey with a perfect mix of skill and determination to be a top rider.

Winning trainer Nicholas Bachalard said that it meant a lot to win the race for Sheikh Ahmed and Mohammed Al Shehhi, director general of Sheikh Ahmed’s office. “Pat was heavily involved with Sheikh Ahmed as a key member of the Jebel Ali team and it is special to win a race named in his memory, especially for his family, the stables and everybody involved,” said Bachalard.

“He’s not forgotten and will always be a part of UAE racing. I had the pleasure of knowing him and understood why he was liked by everyone he came into contact with.”

Fifth time lucky

Meanwhile, the Keeneland Conditions Stakes, the co-main event, saw the Doug Watson-trained Uncle Hamed break his maiden at the fifth attempt.

With Pat Dobbs in the saddle, just as he has been in all four previous starts, Uncle Hamed tracked the leader No Limits, ridden by Tadhg O’Shea before taking over the running inside the final 100 metres to claim a long-overdue success.

Watson and Dobbs would complete a meet double with Pharoah King in the concluding Commercial Bank of Dubai Handicap to take their tally of wins for the weekend to four, following a highly profitable big-race double at Thursday’s Carnival meeting where they landed the UAE Oaks and Al Shindagha Spring with Mnasek and Al Tariq, respectively.

Kuwaiti owner-trainer Rashed Bouresley has discovered a rich vein of form at Jebel Ali where he saddled his eighth winner of the term when Fabrice Veron and Your My rock pegged back Davy Lamp, the mount of Clement Lecoeuvre by a neck. Bouresly Racing are currently the leading owners at Jebel Ali Racecouse.