Spotlight on former stars in Jebel Ali
Silver Galaxy, ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, powers to victory in the 1950m third race at the Jebel Ali race course in Dubai.- KT file
Dubai - Haatheq, Silver Galaxy and Interpret in the spotlight
The Jebel Ali Stakes Prep (1950m) is the feature event on an Emirates Airline sponsored six-race card when racing returns to the popular Dubai racecourse on Friday afternoon.
Eleven runners have been declared for the traditional lead up to the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes over the same course and distance on February 19. Meydan-based trainer Musabah Al Muhairi will saddle two for the race including Interpret who won the Jebel Ali Stakes two years ago and Silver Galaxy 2015 winner of the Group Three Jebel Ali Mile (1600m).
Stable jockey Fernando Jara has selected Interpret, a half brother to Invasor on whom he won the 2007 Dubai World Cup. The eight-year-old opened his season finishing fourth in last month's Jebel Ali Mile.
The Oasis Stables handler has booked the the season's leading jockey Tadhg O'Shea for Silver Galaxy who also returned to action in this year's renewal of the Jebel Ali Mile, but was well beaten.
"They have both improved for their comeback runs," said Al Muhairi. "Interpret ran very well that day and is better over this longer trip while Silver Galaxy also stays well. "Hopefully they will both be competitive." Fellow Emirati Ali Rashid Al Raihe, who trains from Grandstand Stables, next door to Al Muhairi at the Meydan complex, will send out Haatheq, to be ridden by Paul Hanagan.
The now nine-year-old, whose career highlight was a close second in the Group Two 2013 Godolphin Mile (1600m) on the Dubai World Cup programme, relishes the unique contours of Jebel Ali having won five times on the course.
He has always seemed better over 1800 metres rather than this longer trip but should be 'cherry ripe' on what will be his third start of the campaign.
"He is a grand horse," said Hanagan. "He always tries his best and does not know how to run a bad race. This is a drop in class for him and hopefully he can go close in an open contest."
Busatto, prepared by the season's leading trainer Doug Watson, won twice at Jebel Ali earlier in the campaign, including over his trip, before disappointing on his most recent start, over 1600 metres. That was four weeks ago and he looks the type who could bounce back.
"He is much better than that," said Watson, who also heads the Jebel Ali table. "Things just did not go right for him that day. He has had a nice break and is in good form."
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the race at the Meydan on Thursday. — Photo by Neeraj Murali