Dubai: Former star sprinter Muarrab makes his highly anticipated seasonal bow at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, where he looks the one to beat in the featured Derrinstown Stud handicap.
Trained by Musabah Al Muhairi, the nine-year-old son of Oasis Dream, tasted defeat just once in nine starts at the venue five years ago, before going on to carve a name for himself during the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan.
That lone defeat came over seven-furlongs, a distance he would never attempt again in his subsequent starts, eight of which were either over five or six furlongs, and which paid high dividends.
The highlight of his career came in 2016 at Meydan where he outsprinted a world-class field to win the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, a race in which he fluffed his lines in attempting to repeat the feat the following year.
Al Muhairi has indicated that after a few niggling injuries, his stable flag-bearer is working towards peak form and a return to the Carnival in 2019.
Maria Ritchie, his assistant trainer, explained: “We wanted to run him, in his first run, up the straight.
“He had an injury, nothing serious, after the (Al Shindagha), so he got some time off. Coming off the injury, we didn’t want to run him around a bend yet. He might need the run, but he’s happy and looks like he’s doing well. We’ll point him to the Carnival.”
Among his eight rivals on Friday is High On Life, winner of the corresponding feature on the opening day of the season.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Bachalard, first season handler at Jebel Ali Stables’, can open his UAE account with American recruit Draco in the Emirates NBD co-event.
Draco has an outstanding record of one win and two seconds in three starts, the win coming at Gulfstream Park in America at the back end of the 2017 season.
Other notable contenders in the race are former Jebel Ali scorers, Wasim and The New Maharjah.
Race 1. 1. Af Fakhama; 2. Es Al Aseel Nigmah
Race 2. 1. Trenchard 2. Padlock
Race 3. 1. Wasim, 2. The New Maharjah
Race 4. 1. Muharrab, 2. High On Life
Race 5. 1. Arch Gold, 2, Cranesbill
Race 6. 1. Aleko, 2. Rio Tigre
Race 7. 1. Hawker, 2. Cape Of Eagles
Day’s Best: Muarrab