x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Horse racing awards piling up before Dubai's World Cup

Treble Jig 'is just in a league of his own' at Jebel Ali Racecourse but Russian Rock edges him out for top horse among many other awards, writes John Byrne.

JEBEL ALI // Ernst Oertel, based at Al Asayl just outside Abu Dhabi, has the UAE trainers' championship virtually in the bag after his three closest challengers, Musabah Al Muhairi, reigning champion Ali Rashid Al Raihe and former champion Satish Seemar could only muster one winner apiece at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday afternoon.

With only next week's Dubai World Cup meeting left, Oertel has 34 winners and leads Al Muhairi by one, with the other pair a further two behind.

There was some consolation for Al Muhairi, though, who was confirmed as Jebel Ali's leading trainer this season, with stable jockey Wayne Smith winning the course's jockeys' title and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid the leading owner.

Al Muhairi and Smith also won a Chevrolet Tahoe apiece, along with owner Fathi Esaed Mohd Egziama, with whom they have combined to win all three feature races on the course over the last two seasons.

And it was the trio who combined with Treble Jig to win the featured 1,800m conditions race and keep the trainer's title dream alive.

The unprecedented winner of both the Jebel Ali Stakes and Mile in each of the last two seasons, Treble Jig is now six-for-six on his favourite course, but was edged out as the track's leading horse this season by Russian Rock.

Representing the same connections, Russian Rock has won the Jebel Ali Sprint in each of the last two iterations, with this year's victory being one of four at the track this campaign.

But a second-place finish earlier saw him edge out Treble Jig for the top-horse award.

Treble Jig was forced to concede weight to his rivals in the feature but never really looked in any danger after hitting the front under a confident Smith about 600 metres out.

The jockey said: "He is just in a league of his own here and loves both the surface and the hill. Once he gets to the front and hits that steep incline, he is going to be very hard to pass, as he has demonstrated yet again. It has been a great season here at Jebel Ali."

The opening 1,950m handicap was won by the Al Raihe-trained Blue Sea with Harry Bentley in the saddle, before Richard Mullen steered On War to victory in an 1800m handicap for his main employer Satish Seemar.

Both victories kept their trainer's faint title aspirations alive.At the opposite end of the scale, Mohd Ibrahim saddled his first winner as a trainer, at the 24th attempt, when Carlos Sanchez and Journalistic won the concluding 1,400m handicap.

The second-best race on the card was a 1,400m conditions race, and Forjatt landed the spoils for Dhruba Selvaratnam with James Doyle aboard.

Iguaza Falls was the comfortable winner of a 1,600m handicap with Adrie De Vries riding for Mubarak bin Shafya.

UAE Championships

Champion Owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid (unless Godolphin have 7/8 winners on World Cup night)

Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea (unless Richard Mullen rides 7 winners)

Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel (unless Russian Rock wins Al Quoz Sprint and/or Satish Seemar/Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddle a treble)

Jebel Ali Championships (Most wins at the course) Cash prizes supplied by Ardmore Trading

Owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid

Trainer Musabah Al Muhairi

Jockey Wayne Smith

To win a Chevrolet Tahoe supplied by Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed (most wins)

Trainer Musabah Al Muhairi

Jockey Wayne Smith

Horse Russian Rock – owned by Fathi Esaed Mohd Egziama


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