Penalised Jebel Ali Stakes winner to face eight rivals in big race prep

Over 1800m, the Jebel Ali Stakes Prep, a conditions contest, is the Saturday highlight up the famous Jebel Ali hill with nine set to face the starter after the withdrawal of Avant Garde who was due to be half of a pair of runners to be saddled by Michael Costa.

Trainer - MICHAEL COSTA Picture: Racing and Sports

The actual Listed Jebel Ali Stakes itself is over 1950m and was won last season, at the end of February, by Lost Eden, trained by Doug Watson for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum. The 5yo gelded son of Sea The Stars had won a rated conditions stakes a month earlier over the same course and distance.

He was runner-up on his UAE debut, also over Jebel Ali but over 1600m, almost a year ago and his record fresh in Britain, when trained by Richard Hannon, was also good so the fact that he has not run since that Jebel Ali Stakes success, an absence of 293 days, is not a major concern. Pat Dobbs takes the mount on Watson's charge, penalised for his big race victory.

Costa, who trains at the adjacent Jebel Ali Stables of racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, may not be saddling Avant Garde but does have Shamikh among the nonet.

The mount of stable jockey Jean Van Overmeire, the 5yo Lea gelding made a winning debut in November 2020, in a 3yo maiden over 1400m at Jebel Ali. He also landed a conditions race that season, over the same 1400m, and a similar contest over 1600m, also at Jebel Ali.

That latter victory in February 2021was his most recent success but he has run well on both starts for Costa, the trainer in his first UAE season, and seemed to stay 1700m at Sharjah last time. This is a far greater stamina test though.

For Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Royston Ffrench partners Book Review , the pair already victorious this season, in a 1900m Meydan handicap at the beginning of November, his sole outing so far this season. Trained by Salem bin Ghadayer, he has form at Jebel Ali, over 1950m, so stamina is certainly not an issue.

From two Bhupat Seemar runners, Tadhg O'Shea partners Pitcher's Point on whom he landed a 1600m handicap on the same Meydan card as which Book Review was victorious. The 5yo gelding was runner-up, over 1600m here at Jebel Ali, on his local debut in February so underfoot conditions would not appear to be an issue. He was, however, behind Shamikh over 1700m at Sharjah and meets that rival on worst terms here.

Pat Cosgrave  partners Seemar's second contender, Sanad Libya, the third of the runners with a previous Jebel Ali success on his resume, in his case a 1400m maiden for 3yos in February 2020. He has twice won since at Meydan, most recently over 2200m at the beginning of January.

Also doubly represented is Ahmed Al Shemaili, Adrie de Vries seemingly preferring the chances of Marshall Plan over New Comedy, the mount of Saif Al Balushi.

With the Musabbeh Al Mheiri string in decent form, Daramethos should not be ignored under Antonio Fresu while the field is completed by Daneyan, to be ridden by Fernando Jara for rookie trainer Ahmed Al Neyadi,

Racing and Sports