SEVEN RACES, as is now the norm at Jebel Ali, this afternoon and undoubtedly highlighted by a fascinating 1400m conditions contest which has attracted an intriguing blend of UAE old favourites with some exciting new faces scattered into the melting pot. The latter category is headed by Inverleigh, sold for a not too shabby 350,000gns at Tattersalls in July having won twice from six starts in Ireland for Ger Lyons. A 3yo Excelebration colt, he made a winning debut as a juvenile over 1200m at Leopardstown before being placed twice in Listed company. He clearly goes well fresh, which bodes well for this task, as he reappeared at Naas in April, over 1100m, to win the Listed Committed Stakes before disappointing on the same track, over 1200m, in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes.
He showed that effort to be all wrong when, on his final start and back at Leopardstown, he chased home Flight Risk in the 1400m Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes. Having joined Salem bin Ghadayer, he will now be sporting the colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohd and, with an official rating of 104, really does look a quality addition to the equine team at Fazza Racing Stables. Purchased from Godolphin by former multiple UAE Champion Jockey Ted Durcan at Tattersalls in February for 65,000gns, Recordman will be having his initial outing for Satish Seemar and Mohd Khaleel Ahmed, the connections of Lavaspin who was a revelation last season with four victories. Homebred by Godolphin, the 4yo gelding won once for Saeed bin Suroor, over 2000m on the Chelmsford all-weather and will be having his first start since September 2018 and having been gelded.
As a February purchase, he should have had plenty of time to acclimatise and Seemar’s Zabeel Stables, have made a bright start to the campaign. Golden Jaguar was a star of Phoenix Ladies Syndicate’s first campaign as owners last season, including a remarkable winning debut on his one previous Jebel Ali appearance when, facing 12 rivals in a 1000m maiden, he missed the break but still won by more than three lengths under Connor Beasley. Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, he then, on turf, won the 1400m Meydan Classic Trial before in the big race itself, a 1600m Listed contest, he was caught close home by Sporting Chance. Last of 14 in the UAE Derby on his final start, the 3yo Animal Kingdom colt remains an exciting prospect with untapped potential and is at least proven up the Jebel Ali hill and on the idiosyncratic surface.
After a clean sweep at Meydan last week, there is no doubting Doug Watson has his team at Red Stables in fine fettle and he relies on Habah. Ali A Aneizi’s 3yo Twirling Candy filly was highly tried last season when contesting both the UAE 1000 Guineas and Oaks, she was fourth in the latter before, at the fifth attempt, losing her maiden tag over 1600m on her sole visit to Jebel Ali. With Watson flying, that invaluable course experience and a filly’s allowance, she certainly merits serious consideration. Twice runner-up over course and distance last season to useful pair Rocket Power and Pinter, Tadbir, like the latter trained by Erwan Charpy, was entitled to need his comeback run, again over this track and trip a fortnight ago, and should make his presence felt in the blue and white of Sheikh Hamdan.
Tabernas, a 1200m course maiden winner at the first meeting two weeks ago for Bin Harmash, was entered in the feature but, unsurprisingly, connections have opted for what appears an easier option in the handicap over the same 1200m as his victory.