x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Forjatt remembers to get lucky at Jebel Ali

Finishes first in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile and big day out for Henry Clay, too, as trainer Watson enjoys a very satisfying afternoon, reports John Byrne.

Pat Dobbs, second from left, guides Henry Clay to victory in the 1,800m handicap at Jebel Ali racecourse in Dubai on Friday. Pawan Singh / The National
Pat Dobbs, second from left, guides Henry Clay to victory in the 1,800m handicap at Jebel Ali racecourse in Dubai on Friday. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // A memorable afternoon at Jebel Ali was highlighted by the impressive victory on Friday of Forjatt in the course’s biggest race of the season, the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile.

It was a deserved change of luck for the horse, arguably unlucky in both his previous starts this season.

James Doyle, the stable jockey for the trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam, wore the famous yellow silks of Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid, the racecourse patron. Doyle and Forjatt shot clear about 300 metres out.

The horse ran on strongly, allaying any stamina doubts over this trip up the steep hill and reversing course and distance form with the runner-up, Colmar Kid, who beat him in the prep race two weeks ago.

A jubilant Doyle said: “I really enjoyed that as I should probably have won the National Day Cup on him at Abu Dhabi in December and, again, we could easily have won the prep.

“We met Colmar Kid on better terms today and I was confident his stamina would last so was happy to commit for home. It is a great result for the whole team.”

Selvaratnam, winning for the first time a race first contested in 1994, added: “We were hopeful but knew Colmar Kid and eventual third, Haatheq, would be hard to beat. James gave him a great ride on Saturday and we will have to look at Meydan and the Carnival.”

Doug Watson enjoyed a profitable afternoon, saddling five runners and twice supplying the first and second in competitive handicaps.

Pat Dobbs, the stable jockey, rode both winners, on each occasion denying weighing room colleague Sam Hitchcott.

On each occasion, first and second also represented the same owners, with Henry Clay setting the ball rolling when winning the 1,800m handicap from Hacienda, both owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Watson later repeated the trick in a 1,400m handicap, Firstknight and Dobbs making virtually all and holding on gamely from stable companion Mark To Market. Both are owned by the UAE’s major syndicate, the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club (EERC).

Many members of the group were present at the track to greet their charges and to meet the retired jockey Lester Piggott.

Watson said: “We knew we had good chances and so it has proved. Henry Clay seems to save his best form for Jebel Ali and Hacienda goes well here, too. That was a really exciting finish and I was hoping for a dead-heat as they crossed the line.

“Mark To Market was gaining on Firstknight, with the width of the track between them, but was never quite going to get there.

“It has been a great afternoon.”

The season’s leading trainer, Musabah Al Muhairi, narrowly denied in the feature with Colmar Kid, saddled the other three winners, with the debutant Damar leading the way, under Silvestre de Sousa, in the opening 1,400m maiden.

Next up was Kanaf, winning over the same distance in a conditions race to record a third consecutive course-and-distance victory. Paul Hanagan rode that one for his main employer, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, denying Kanaf’s stablemate, Shaishee.

Daar Rashid completed the Al Muhairi treble in the concluding 1,200m handicap with the apprentice Noel Garbutt in the saddle on the four-year-old who recorded a first victory at his 12th attempt.

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