Friday afternoon at Jebel Ali is highlighted by the 1000m Jebel Ali Sprint and 1950m Jebel Ali Stakes, which are both Listed races. A key player in the sprint is Morawij who will attempt to defend his crown.
Trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Morawij will attempt to become the third horse to win the race, first run in 1994, in consecutive years.
That feat was achieved by Russian Rock, in 2012 and 2013 and by Selvaratnam with Try Prospect in 1996 and 1997.
Stable jockey, Chris Hayes, chooses Morwaij, who was victorious last year with Wayne Smith on board. Colm Donoghue rides stable companion, United Color, third in this race last year when ridden by Hayes.
“Both are in good form and this been their main target,” said Selvaratnam. “It looks a good renewal but both should give a worthy account of themselves.”
Meanwhile, the Satish Seemar-trained Spin Cycle will try and achieve something which has not been done before; winner of the race in 2011, he seeks to become the first horse to regain the crown.
Now an eleven-year-old, he does appear to face a stiff task though having been well beaten over course and distance four weeks ago when Morawij was second.
That conditions contest was won by Mushir, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, making it three wins from as many starts this season.
He is one of four in the race for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose Shadwell breeding empire sponsor both big races on the card, as well as two others through the organisation’s three main farms.
The owner’s retained jockey, Jim Crowley, has elected to ride Mushir who looks sure to run a big race, as does the admirable Krypton Factor.
A 1200m course winner last year, the Fawzi Nass-trained Krypton Factor, now nine years old, enjoyed his finest hour when winning the Group 1 Golden Shaheen at Meydan in 2012.
He was back in the Meyan winner’s enclosure just last week when showing his old zest to land a 1200m turf handicap under Adrie de Vries who is again in the saddle.
“He did that very well last week,” said De Vries. “The ability is certainly still there and he proved last year he can handle the Jebel Ali surface.”
Then, half an hour later, Sheikh Ahmed, Selvaratnam and Hayes again combine with a major contender in the Jebel Ali Stakes. Their Forjatt will attempt to add this 1950m prize to his victory in the 1600m Jebel Ali Mile four weeks ago.
He does have to carry a penalty for that victory but Treble Jig was able to win both races in 2012 and then again the following year so it can certainly be done.
“We hope he will stay the extra trip,” said Selvaratnam. “He is in very good form at home so we are expecting a big run but he does need to prove his stamina for the extra 350m.”
Treble Jig was saddled by Al Mheiri who also won the race in 2014 with Interpret who seeks to win the race again.
If he was to do so, he would become the first horse ever to regain his crown in the race.
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