Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 April 2020

'Brilliant' Shamaal Nibras aiming to go out on a high

The two-time Jebel Ali Classic winner set for last race before well-earned retirement

Shamaal Nibras has won 10 races and placed second or third 20 times in 61 career starts. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Shamaal Nibras has won 10 races and placed second or third 20 times in 61 career starts. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Shamaal Nibras is aiming to go out on a high in Friday’s Jebel Ali race meeting.

A two-time winner of the Jebel Ali Classic, the 11-year-old First Samurai gelding will be bidding the feature prize for the third time in the bumper eight-race thoroughbred card.

Trained by Doug Watson for the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club (EERC), Shamaal Nibras won the inaugural running of the race in 2017 under Tadhg O’Shea and was successful in 2019 with stable jockey Pat Dobbs in the saddle.

Dobbs has opted to ride him from the stables five entries on his final race before he walks into the sunset of his life.

“The plan has always been to retire Shamaal Nibras after this race and remains so,” Justin Byrne, the EERC spokesman, said of the horse that has won 10 races and placed second or third 20 times in 61 career starts.

“He has been a brilliant flagbearer for the syndicate and owes us nothing. It would be brilliant if he could go out with a win, but this does look a strong renewal.

“Cenotaph [also in the EERC silks] is a new horse and one we really like. We think the Jebel Ali straight track will suit him and he has won over 1,400m on all-weather surfaces in Europe.”

Watson, who has trained all three previous winners (including 2018 with Cosmo Charlie), paid tribute to Shamaal Nibras.

“Shamaal Nibras loves it at Jebel Ali and has been a great horse to have in the yard,” the Red Stables trainer said.

Watson’s remaining entries in the field are Mystique Moon, under stables second jockey Sam Hitchcott, Thegreatcollection, Fanaar and Motafaawit.

“Mystique Moon also goes well at Jebel Ali but Thegreatcollection is racing there for the first time, so we will see how he handles it.

“We have not had Fanaar long, but he is a nice horse having just his third start for us. This will be his dirt debut, but he works well on it at home and won on the all-weather in Britain.”

Satish Seemar has four among the maximum allowed field of 16, with stable jockey Richard Mullen opting for local debutant Medahim, three times a winner in Britain.

O’Shea is aboard Pilgrim’s Treasure, a course and distance winner for the jockey on his penultimate start.

Fernando Jara is atop Riflescope and Fabrice Veron rides Ode to Autumn, a course and distance winner at both the latest two Jebel Ali fixtures.

“Medahim is a new horse, but he has been working very well and we are looking forward to running him,” Bhupat Seemar, assistant trainer, said.

“Ode to Autumn arrives in great form and Pilgrim’s Treasure is another course and distance winner, while Riflescope also goes well at Jebel Ali, so we hopefully have four strong chances.”

The Jebel Ali racecourse meanwhile has come up with a novel idea of an online ‘pick-six’ competition for fans after racing went behind closed doors on the spread of the Coronavirus. For more details, visit www.jebelaliracecourse.com or www.aladiyat.ae.

Updated: March 19, 2020 04:23 PM

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