Last year's winner Good Trip among the 12 runners in Friday's race
Gopi Selvaratnam 'hoping for a big effort' from Albernathy in Jebel Ali Mile Prep
Gopi Selvaratnam is pinning his hopes for only a second career victory on Albernathy at Jebel Ali on Friday.
The former Godolphin inmate was a fast-finishing third behind Galvanize and Direct Message in a handicap run over the 1,600-metre trip at Meydan three weeks ago.
“That was a good effort,” said Selvaratnam, who took over from his brother Dhruba at the Jebel Ali Stables in the summer.
“This looks a good opportunity for him. We are certainly hoping for a big effort from him but there are no weak races at Jebel Ali and this looks a strong one.”
Good Trip, winner of the Jebel Ali Mile Prep last year, is among the 12 runners. The Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained colt hasn’t won since that success, though. He ran four times in valuable handicaps at Meydan before he was unplaced in the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes over 1,950m on his return to the course. He was also last in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold at Meydan on Super Saturday in his last start of last season.
Tadhg O’Shea, the leading UAE jockey this season with 20 winners gets the ride and the Grandstand Stables rider is quietly confident of Good Trip’s chances.
“We always hoped that whatever he achieved last season he would improve this one,” said the Irishman.
“Hopefully he can prove us right. He seems in good form and should run well in a tough race.”
The UAE champion trainer Doug Watson is double handed with Nathr and Just A Penny.
“Nathr has not really fired in his two runs this season at Meydan so we thought we would bring him back here,” said Watson, who leads the trainer’s championship with 21 winners.
“He was fourth in the race last year and this is just his third Jebel Ali appearance. Just A Penny has won five times at Jebel Ali, twice over this 1,600m. We took him to Abu Dhabi on turf for his one run this season and hopefully he is spot on for Friday.”
The Satish Seemar-trained Pilgrim’s Treasure in an interesting newcomer, ridden by the stable and UAE champion jockey Richard Mullen. The Dubawi colt has one win to his name from six starts.
Salem bin Ghadayer has three entered led by Frankyfourfingers, winner of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 in February 2015. He hasn’t won since then and returns to the track after an absence of nearly 11 months.