Treble Jig broke a 12-year-old track record on Friday and became the first horse to defend his crown in the 1,600m feature at Jebel Ali, writes John Byrne.
Treble Jig continues historic run at Jebel Ali
DUBAI // Treble Jig continued his record-breaking and history-making love affair with Jebel Ali when winning the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile on Friday, breaking a 12-year-old track record in the process and becoming the first horse to defend his crown in the 1,600m feature he won last year.
It was the first time the track had hosted a Group 3 contest as when he won this 12 months ago it was a Listed race and he made history on that occasion having already won the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, then a unique double but one has repeated this year having won the Stakes again two weeks ago.
No other horse has won that 1,950 metre race twice and only Conflict (2001 and 2004) had won two Jebel Ali Miles previously and it is not beyond the realms of possibility Treble Jig will attempt an unprecedented treble in the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint in early March – a race connections won with Russian Rock last year.
Musabah Al Muhairi trains Treble Jig, who has now won all five of his Jebel Ali outings with stable jockey Wayne Smith aboard on each occasion.
Smith said: "He is just amazing here and loves everything about the place from the surface to that steep uphill finish. I was happy to commit for home about 1,000m out as he stays well and finds another gear on that hill.
"It was another great win on another special day here at Jebel Ali."
Al Muhairi actually saddled four of the six winners with Smith completing a treble courtesy of Youm Mutamiez, another course specialist who landed his fourth 1,400m course victory in a conditions race, and Suited And Booted who opened his local account in a 1,400m handicap. Both were prominent throughout and Smith added: "It often pays to be very positive here and it has worked in both these cases.
"These are definitely the optimum conditions for Youm Mutamiez and he is a nice horse over this 1,400m but he probably finds 1,600m here beyond him. It is a straight 1,400m here and he seems to really like that.
"Suited And Booted has plenty of speed and ability but was getting a bit disappointing so we put blinkers on him and I looked for a lone furrow on the near rail. It seemed to do the trick and he dug deep when he had to. It has been a special day."
Al Muhairi went one better, saddling four winners on a card for a second time having once achieved the feat at Meydan. He combined with Harry Bentley to win the opening 1,200m handicap with Special Boy who was winning for the first time. The trainer said: "What an afternoon we have had and our horses have been in great form here at Jebel Ali all season."
The following 1,800m handicap went to Periphery with Adrie de Vries in the saddle for Mubarak bin Shafya. He too was winning for the first time and De Vries said: "We were hopeful because we thought the surface, course and distance would suit him."
The concluding race was a 1,400m maiden and Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe provided the winner with stable jockey Royston Ffrench aboard Latkhaf. Ffrench said: "He had three second to his name this season so deserved that."
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