Dubai: Eight horses take to the gates for Friday afternoon’s feature in Jebel Ali’s seven-race card with the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-schooled Zhou Storm carrying the most appeal among them.
Emirati Al Rayhi will be hoping the Due Diligence colt emulates the form he had shown in lesser company as he edges to the close of the season with a flourish in the 1200m conditions sprint for 3yos down the straight chute. The steep uphill finish though is something he isn’t used to, having never run at Jebel Ali - with his four previous starts on Meydan’s flat dirt track.
Zhou Storm whipped up quite a storm when debuting with a gritty success that seasoned him for a four and-a-half length success in a 1400m Conditions event that followed. Third in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial, he was then fifth of six in the main event, carrying Group 3 status a month back. The break should have helped him rest well for this and Al Rayhi will be licking his lips in anticipation as he looks to add to his 18 wins this term.
The same goes for Satish Seemar, whose Siyouni colt No Limits is top-rated and could be preferred, having had the privilege of two attempts here. Winless in three career starts, this could be right up his alley though as he showed incredible improvement over his first three runs with his best a runner-up finish over 1400m here on his last run a fortnight ago.
RAK-based Rashed Bouresly’s yard has been punching hard too and Hawa Bilady might hold the edge over stablemate Ajmal, among the two fielded by the Kuwaiti handler, on the basis of his two placings in four career starts.
Salem Bin Ghadayer’s yard is represented by Rare Ninja - who has been placed four times but is yet to win in six previous starts. Third in his two starts here in progressive company, the Distorted Humor colt is a bit of luck away from a first success and could turn the corner this afternoon in the hands of Royston Ffrench.
As far as the 1800m handicap is concerned, Doug Watson’s Dehbashi and Native Appeal, both owned by Mohammed Khalifa Al Basti, look solid with Helal Alalawi’s Mystery Land another top divisional contender.
The contests are part of a seven-race card that gets underway with the lone Purebred Arabian run, a 1400m handicap. A Thoroughbred maiden over 1600m and three other handicaps for the type are also part of the undercard.
- The author is a sports journalist based in the UAE