Racegoers on Friday at Jebel Ali got a bit of everything from a very competitive card. The eye-catcher of the meet up the hill was, yet again, Muarrab (pictured below), landing the Commercial Bank of Dubai Handicap over 1,200 metres. His final time of 1:10.54 was just .66 seconds off the course mark, set in 2003, enough for his second win of the season after a similar drubbing on the opening night of the season. By Oasis Dream out of the Wolfhound mare License to Thrill, Muarrab has now dispatched his rivals by a combined 11 ½ lengths from his two races this season.
Mutajare (below) received a cracking ride from apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei who went to the front, backed down the pace, and just barely held Storm Belt at bay. Both horses were saddled with 53 kilograms, but the winner surely benefitted from a three-kilo apprentice allowance. Storm Belt (below, right) was backing-up after an easy tally at Sharjah six days previously and still looks like he will climb the ratings after another credible run.
Justin Byrne of the EERC suggested that Firstknight (below, near side) would be in a better spot when racing forward, and that’s exactly where Tadhg O’Shea took the gelding bred by Cheveley Park Stud. By Kyllachy out of the Groom Dancer mare, Wedding Party, Firstknight took the Arabian Scandinavian Insurance Company Handicap by a neck. The win was his second in the UAE, first for the EERC, and first since January 2012. Bravo Youmzain (below, middle), the maiden, always seems to put in a quality run and is certainly due to grab victory in the near future. The late run of third placer Count Paris was sure to catch eyes, as he was a big second-up improver last year.
Mashaaref (below) covered 16 metres more than Ramonti Flash last week at Meydan and bounced back over shorter trip and took full advantage of a hot pace with no ground loss up the hill, winning the Derrinstown Stud Conditions event by more than seven lengths. Bred in the UK by Shadwell, Mashaaref is by Cape Cross ouf of Etizaaz (Diesis), Mashaaref is a half-brother to Munaddam, a three-time Carnival winner from 2007 and 2009.
Ismail Mohammed earned his first winner in the UAE this season with Encipher landing the Al Shafar Investment Handicap by more than five lengths over well-fancied Gold Pearl. The top weight recorded his second win from three Jebel Ali starts. Bred in America by Darley, Encipher is by Elusive Quality out of the Green Desert mare, Secret Charm.
Racing resumes in the UAE on Saturday at Sharjah. The next meeting at Jebel Ali is scheduled for November 29. As usual, pictures are provided by Cedric Lane for UAERacingPictures.