Selvaratnam holds the ace

Jebel Ali-based trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam is hopeful that top weight Mannjal would cruise to an easy victory in the Shadwell-sponsored 1200m Conditions sprint.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

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Published: Thu 18 Nov 2010, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:29 AM

Jebel Ali-based trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam is hopeful that top weight Mannjal would cruise to an easy victory in the Shadwell-sponsored 1200m Conditions sprint, the highlight of the all-thoroughbreds six-race card at the hilly track on Friday afternoon.

The eight-year-old gelded son of Storm Cat had never run a bad race on distance and course before, but has failed to impress when he was shifted to the new Meydan Tapeta surface or when sent for an extended distance as he finished a poor ninth to Aamaaq on the home track.

But Mannjal is ready for the challenge as he makes a most welcome return on seasonal debut under regular partner William Buick in the distinguished yellow silks of Shaikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “He is in good form at home and ready for a run. We know conditions suit us but he does have to give the weight away and will improve for the outing,” Selvaratnam said.

And after the withdrawal of the main opponent, Escape Route, trained by Satish Seemar and ridden by Richard Mullen, it looks that Doug Watson would be the main threat courtesy Alsadeek under Patrick Dobbs.

The two horses were last seen battling against each other when defeated by the mount of Ted Durcan Terrific Challenge in the Jebel Ali Sprint (Conditions) last February. Mannjal was narrowly beaten while Alsadeek finished three lengths behind to finish in seventh place. Watson is double handed in the race. The Red Stables trainer also saddles Classic Blade, Tadhg O’Shea up, and he’s hopeful of a good result. “Both Alsadeek and Classic Blade have form on the course which is a positive sign and they seem to be in good shape at home. They will certainly come on for the outing but should be able to run big races,” he said.

Buick is also in the saddle on Selvaratnam’s Otaared in the following 1400m handicap. A dual course and distance winner last season, he too has to give weight to his rivals on seasonal debut. Selvaratnam said: “He made a very pleasing start to his UAE career last season but struggled at Meydan. Hopefully he can bounce back, though he too will benefit from this outing and has to give weight away.”

Shaikh Hamdan, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, has retained jockey Tadhg O’Shea rides Derbbaas, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and he has to be feared. O’Shea agrees: “He ran okay at the Dubai International Racing Carnival last year and appeared to handle the Jebel Ali track on his one run. We have to be hopeful.” Stable companion Yirga also can go close.

Watson again saddles a brace with Wayne Smith picking up the spare ride on Clasp. Smith said: “I am pleased to get back on him as he ran very well when I rode him at Abu Dhabi last year. He has run well at Jebel Ali also and can be competitive.”

Summer Games, trained by Rashed Bouresly, is another to consider.

The second 1400m handicap features a clash between first meeting winners My Verse and Rochefort. Both are clearly in good heart.

Eduardo Martins saddles Okean Mor whose last three outings were in Group-1 company in his native Brazil.

Pick Six players face a tough task all afternoon with Planetary Motion sure to be a popular choice in the concluding 1000m handicap. Florentine Ruler is an interesting new addition to the UAE and will fiercely contest the opening 1800m handicap.

Cho Cho Fever impressed when making a winning debut a fortnight ago and can follow up in the 1600m handicap.

KT Selections: 1. Zemario/ Palm Court 2. Cho Cho Fever/ Kessraa 3. Mannjal/ Alsadeek 4. Otaared/ Clasp 5. Rochefort/ Aqmaar 6. AB Include/ Planetary Motion. Day’s Best: Mannjal.

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