x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sheikh Hamdan posts three horse racing winners at Jebel Ali

Mashaaref finishes first in feature race, Muarrab takes 1,200m handicap while Mutajare completes local trifecta in 1,800m at Jebel Ali.

Muarrab was one of three winners for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid at Jebel Ali on Friday. Satish Kumar / The National
Muarrab was one of three winners for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid at Jebel Ali on Friday. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Musabah Al Muhairi and Wayne Smith have been dominant at Jebel Ali in recent seasons, and the trainer-jockey tandem won yet another feature race on Friday afternoon when Mashaaref was first home in the 1,400m conditions race.

“He did that very well, indeed,” Smith said of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s bay gelding. “I won on him here on the opening day of the season a year ago and he ran some decent races in defeat afterwards without enjoying much luck.

“I actually beat him when he was second at Meydan last week, but the benefit of that run was apparent here. He is a talented horse who has won over further. I guess we will have to think about the Jebel Ali Mile.”

Mashaaref was one of three winners on the card for Sheikh Hamdan, whose blue-and-white silks were also carried to victory by Mutajare and Muarrab in the final two races on the card.

Like Mashaaref, Muarrab is trained by Al Muhairi and, having won a 1,000m handicap at the opening meeting, under Smith, who promptly doubled up in the 1,200m handicap, the penultimate race on the card.

The owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, was aboard this time and was impressed. He said: “The early pace was pretty strong, but it was not quick enough for him and I was fairly tanking along just in behind. I did not really want to the front until close to home but I had no choice in the end.

“That was impressive and he will have to step up in class now, be it here or at the Meydan Carnival.”

Sheikh Hamdan’s third winner, Mutajare, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe, led virtually all the way under the local apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei in the concluding 1,800m handicap.

An hour earlier, the champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea employed similar tactics on the Doug Watson-trained Firstknight, who was rarely headed in a 1,400m handicap.

An identical race earlier on the card was turned into a procession by Encipher, ridden by Harry Bentley for the trainer Ismail Mohammed. As opposed to Firstknight, who had to fight hard to win, Encipher destroyed his seven rivals to win easily.

Racing opened with the sole Purebred Arabian race on the card, a 1,200m maiden, and Smith initiated his double aboard Safina Ghantoot for trainer Helal Al Alawi. A bit like Firstknight, he led for most of the way, was briefly headed and fought back to lead where it mattered.

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