ASIX race card is the offering this Friday at Jebel Ali Racecourse with a Shadwell Farm-sponsored 1000m conditions sprint the pick of the afternoon’s action. Valued at Dh100,000, the race bites into a major chunk of the Dh424,000 on offer throughout the card and features a relatively tidy field of 11 that includes course and distance winner Raakezz, who runs in the colours of racecourse patron His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and What A Metal, who represents His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
The Jebel Ali resident trainer and jockey combination of Nicholas Bachalard and Ryan Curatolo have won two of the five times they’ve ventured together this season and that might be a good sign despite Raakezz making his seasonal bow in the company of Salem bin Ghadayer’s What A Metal, a massive three and a quarter length victor here a month ago over the trip. Bachalard dispatches a total of three runners during the course of the afternoon with Top Clearance participating in the 1400m handicap and 2yo Tamarkuz colt Tahdeed making his first career start in the 1000m maiden that will be contested as the penultimate race. Bachalard is looking forward to the afternoon and in particular to the feature where he singled out Bin Ghadayer’s charge What A Metal as the one to beat. “We run three horses this week and Raakezz takes part in the feature which is over a distance he likes. He has a good draw too and if he can break well he should have a chance,” said the French conditioner. “But What A Metal has won over the course already this year and that’s why he’ll probably have a small edge on us fitness wise. But as long as Raakezz runs well we’ll be happy.
“With regards to the 2yo Tahdeed, we hope he can break well and we hope he can have a good season because our ultimate goal this season is to try and be present on Dubai World Cup night and find runners that can take us there through the Guineas and then on to the Derby.” Of Top Clearance, Bachalard added: “We are trying something different with him and I hope he will come back and have a better chance another day because he hasn’t run this 1400m distance in over five years.” In the feature, Satish Seemar sends out Emblem Sky and Mass Media, with Doug Watson fielding Far Sky. Le Factor runs for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, while Ali Rashid Al Rayhi dispatches Feriyal. Returning to action, Rashed Bouresly’s yard is represented by Morrabbi Al Ajjial and You’re My Rock, while Jaber Ramadhan has Raahy and Mohammed Rahman pins his hopes on Major Cinnamon. While Shadwell Farm have put their name on the day’s feature, five other sponsors back the rest of the races. These are Commercial Bank of Dubai, Al Reda Insurance Brokers, Arabian Scandinavian Insurance, SIS UK and Dubai Real Estate Centre.
Representing Shadwell was His Excellency Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of the Office of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. And he said: “Sheikh Hamdan is always proud to sponsor events at Jebel Ali Racecourse and has been a long term supporter of racing activity here. “Jebel Ali Racecourse has always been a venue that’s very close to his heart and he has had some memorable victories here over the years. Apart from that this has been a very memorable year for His Highness in Europe with so many major victories and the Owners’ Championship in Britain almost secured. “Even when he was away from racing due to his health he took an active part in helping plan and it was all down to his active leadership.”
There has been a major overhaul in the way racing is being hosted on account of the Covid-19 safety and security protocols that have been made mandatory by the Government and the impact has been felt most at Jebel Ali Racecourse, which is otherwise abuzz with activity on account of families turning up in their numbers to turn the atmosphere into some kind of a quasi picnic. But as has been the norm this season, racing is being run behind closed doors for the foreseeable future meaning that that familiar ‘tea party’ atmosphere will be missing at the racecourse as no fans will be in attendance. Even the press conference was conducted via video link, with Al Sayegh and Bachalard taking questions over the virtual platform in place. Commenting on the card ERA Representative Yasser Mabrouk said: “It is a competitive card with six races and a fair amount of prize money on offer.
“Jebel Ali has always been a popular racecourse for trainers and jockeys, but unfortunately due to the Covid-19 situation racing is being held without fans. Jebel Ali will miss the atmosphere that has turned racing here into a very family affair, but the situation is such and with racing on we will be hoping people still find a way to get involved. “Some of the races are well stocked, while others have smaller fields, but we aren’t talking about quantity but quality.” Jebel Ali Racecourse Manager Shareef Al Halawani added: “We hope fans will make the time to follow all of the racing online and on television. We are doing our best to make sure we make the most of the situation and the online Pick Six competition is a good way for fans to stay involved in racing.” A Pick Six competition will be run online and fans are advised to register and make their selections well in time ahead of the races. The overall Pick Six fund on offer this week is an enticing Dh28,000 with the Double Tricast worth Dh4,000 as part of a prize competition grand total of Dh40,000. Additionally, Dh1,000 will be paid to the groom of the ‘Best Turned Out’ horse before every race. The initiative, totalling Dh6,000, is sponsored by Jebel Ali Racecourse.