Dubai: Jockey Chris Hayes was in awe of Jebel Ali Stable’s rising star, Draco, after partnering the American import to an authoritative victory in the 1,600 metre Shadwell handicap at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday afternoon.
Just like he had done four weeks ago, Draco dominated his rivals to pull away at the finish for an eye-popping 4 1/4 length victory, his first under the talented Irishman, Hayes.
UAE debutant Sa’Ada, the mount of Connor Beasely, finished best of the rest with Tadhg O’Shea’s Jazirat staying on for third.
“It’s my first time to ride him,” said Hayes, a former three-time apprentice Champion for Limerick, who is having his second stint as stable jockey at Jebel Ali Stables after the 2016-2017 season.
“I spoke to the team and they said to ride him good and positive and see if he stays. And he stays well.
“One thing I found out about him is that he’s got a great mind. He got into a lovely relaxed rhythm and finished the race well,” Hayes added.
“The world is his oyster, the Dubai World Cup Carnival (Jan 3 — March 30) or the Jebel Ali Mile (Jan 25). He’s a very uncomplicated horse and I don’t mind where they run him, as long as I’m on him.”
Draco is trained by first-season handler Nicholas Bachalard, who on Sunday saddled Jebel Ali Stables flag-bearer Forjatt to win the prestigious National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi.
The Frenchman has made a qualitative start in his first campaign and can now dare to dream of bigger things with Draco, who must now surely have a myriad of options to explore, with perhaps the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night as his ultimate target for the season.
Meanwhile Rocket Power recorded a second victory at Jebel Ali when comfortably landing the co-feature of the day, the Derrinstown Stud handicap, under Connor Beasley.
Tadbir, the mount of Dane O’Neill was 1¼ length back in season.
It was Beasley’s 12 winner of the season and 9th for Al Asafa Racing Stable handler Bin Harmash.
However, the crack pairing of Richard Mullen and Zabeel Stables boss Satish Seemar continue their rule at the top of the jockey’s and trainer’s tables.
Mullen booted home his 16th winner of the term when riding Beachcomber Bay to win the American University of Sharjah (AUS) handicap to supply Seemar with his 14th success since the season began in October.