x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE horse racing season is off and running

Racing returned to the UAE at Jebel Ali on Friday and the featured 1,000-metre handicap was won in strong fashion by Muarrab, ridden by Wayne Smith for his main employer, Musabah Al Muhairi.

Jockey Richard Mullen guided Frobisher, right, to the win in Race 4, sponsored by Al Tal Engineering, at the Jebeli Ali Racecourse in Dubai as the UAE horse racing season got under way. Satish Kumar / The National
Jockey Richard Mullen guided Frobisher, right, to the win in Race 4, sponsored by Al Tal Engineering, at the Jebeli Ali Racecourse in Dubai as the UAE horse racing season got under way. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Racing returned to the UAE at Jebel Ali on Friday and the featured 1,000-metre handicap was won in strong fashion by Muarrab, ridden by Wayne Smith for his main employer, Musabah Al Muhairi.

The pair have dominated the big races on the course over the last two seasons and Muarrab looks a potential live contender for the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint – a race they have won in each of the past two seasons with Russian Rock.

Having stormed clear of his six rivals, Muarrab clearly impressed Smith.

“You have to be impressed by that as he has beaten some decent sprinters with plenty in hand,” he said. “The Jebel Ali Sprint would have to be a consideration on that evidence, but that is a big step up in class.

“It is nice for the yard, though, with Russian Rock also heading that way again.”

The former champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe clearly wants to regain that title and saddled a double, both ridden by the stable jockey Royston Ffrench.

The first victory came in the debut race of the season, an 1,800m handicap, won easily by Street Act, recording his third win, but first at Jebel Ali.

That victory was far more comfortable than that of Latkhaf, the game winner of a 1,200m handicap in which she had to fight hard to hold off the late challenge of Journalistic.

“That is a great start to the new season and it is always important to get that first winner on the board, so to get a double on the first day is great,” Ffrench said. “Street Act won well, and I was always happy in the race.

“Latkhaf showed last season that she loves it here at Jebel Ali and she showed a great attitude when challenged.”

Frobisher made a winning debut in a 1,000m maiden for the trainer Satish Seemar.

Richard Mullen, the winning jockey, said: “We were very hopeful as he has ability and this was a weak race, but to win first time is not easy, so we have to be delighted.”

The other two races were shared by apprentice jockeys, with Marc Monaghan winning a 1,600m handicap on Maqaarat for the trainer Doug Watson before the Dhruba Selvaratnam-trained Momaris landed the concluding 1,400m handicap.

He was ridden by Thomas Brown, who was making his fifth ride in his first visit to the UAE.

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