A handicap over 1800m was the official highlight of racing at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon and was won in gutsy fashion by Tailor’s Row who arrived in the race on a roll which he maintained, ultimately, in some style.
Royston Ffrench probably had to wait about 150m before he could get to the front on the 7yo Street Cry gelding who is associated with such positive tactics, often delivered to maximum effect.
Halfway up the long Jebel Ali straight Ffrench’s mount was being challenged on all sides by stable companion Untold Secret, progressive Dark Of Night and Shanty Star. However, once the quartet hit the steepest part of the Jebel Ali hill incline, Tailor’s Row powered clear to record a career best effort.
A course and distance winner on his penultimate start, he had subsequently landed a valuable 2000m handicap at Sharjah and was recording an eighth career success, sixth locally and fourth at Jebel Ali. This may well prove the most important though as it almost but certainly secured him a berth at the Dubai World Cup Carnival for Salem bin Ghadayer, completing a double on the card, and owner Musab Abdulqader Mohd Al Rais.
A delighted Ffrench said: “Hopefully that was enough to get him in the carnival and it would be worth a shot with the form that he is in.
“He is just a horse who keeps surprising us and a great asset to the yard. He is so honest and tries his best but, we have learned, does not respond to the whip so we just keep pushing and kicking away on him.”
The longest race on the card, a 1950m handicap, proved a very straightforward assignment for Miracle Maker who was soon in front under Xavier Ziani and stayed there, the race seemingly in safekeeping from a long way out.
Trained by Salem bin Ghadayer for Faiuz Jamil Al Turkumani, the 4yo Paynter colt was doubling both his career and seasonal tally having opened his account in a 2000m Al Ain maiden in November.
It was a similar scenario in the following 1600m maiden when Mazuran, initially the second reserve but drafted into the field, soon led under Tadhg O’Shea and had his nine rivals in trouble soon after halfway.
Bin Ghadayer completed a treble and Ffrench a double with the smooth success of Hurry Up in a 1200m maiden for 3yos. A colt by Blame owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohd Al Maktoum, he had made a more than promising start to his career when second on debut, over this course and distance, three weeks ago and could be called the winner a long way out on this occasion.
A decent quality 1400m handicap turned into something of a strange affair with 13 of the 16 runners racing centre to far side but the finish eventually dominated on the nearside. It was here that Adrie de Vries, drawn high, decided to keep straight on Alla Mahlak and was rewarded with a smooth success, taking the lead entering the final 200m and always winning from there on, chased home by Top Clearance who steered a similar path having been drawn next to the winner.
Bouresly’s winner was actually third reserve whereas stable companion Imprison was first on the standby list before landing the concluding 1200m handicap under Fabrice Veron.
The meeting kicked off with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, a 1400m handicap for horses foaled locally in which very few of the 12 runners were ever able to get involved. Bernardo Pinheiro and JAP Hadad were soon in front, tracked by eventual runner-up AF Musannef and, at halfway, the race looked likely to develop into a duel.
However, shortly afterwards handicap debutant Al Suhooj and Omani apprentice Saif Al Balushi emerged from the remainder to throw down a challenge. Just as AF Musannef managed to pass JAP Hanad, Al Nablushi’s mount loomed large, hitting the front inside the final 150m and staying on strongly.