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Selvaratnam may prosper on Dig Gold

Racing returns to Jebel Ali with a seven-race card - and the trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam appears to hold strong hands in at least five of them.

DUBAI // Racing returns to Jebel Ali this afternoon with a seven-race card - and the trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam appears to hold strong hands in at least five of them. Highlight of the meeting is an 1800m handicap in which Selvaratnam - who trains on the track - relies on Dig Gold who has to be respected in an open contest.

Doug Watson and Erwan Charpy have five and four of the 16 runners respectively, and it would be something of a surprise if any of the other six contestants landed the valuable prize. Watson's Lover Boy will be staying on late under Fernando Jara, while Charpy's Morghim is an enigmatic character more than capable of putting in a big effort. Selvaratnam's best chance looks to be Meeriss in the concluding mile handicap, while his Alo Pura will be hard to beat in the five-furlong handicap. Mofarij and For Once also look hard to beat and, remarkably, For Once, Mofarij and Meeriss will all carry the No 7 saddle cloth.

Dhruba's brother, Adi, may saddle the main danger to For Once in the shape of Save The Secret, and stable companion Samu Dubai looks sure to close in the six-furlong handicap. Rod Simpson's Surprise Package will also be thereabouts in a wide-open contest. Racing opens with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card. It is over a mile and Dhuha W'Rsan can go close for the Jaci Wickham/Richard Mullen combination in a stamina test for the horses which were foaled here.

With valuable prizes to be won in the free raffle and cash prizes available in the free-to-enter on-course tipping competitions, a bumper crowd looks assured. jsullivan@thenational.ae

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