Dubai: After five months of thrilling action across the UAE the curtain came down on the domestic racing season at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, with some memorable racing.
The spotlight will now turn to Meydan Racecourse next Saturday when it plays host to the $27.5 million Dubai World Cup meeting.
Fittingly, resident trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam scored a brace of wins at Jebel Ali, including one in the feature race of the afternoon, the Dh120,000 Shadwell Conditions Stakes with Dormello.
It was the six-year-old’s first UAE success in 11 starts and the first since he had notched a Listed race victory in France when previously trained by Pascal Bary.
With stable jockey James Doyle in the saddle, Dormello romped home a three-and-a-half-length winner over Atlantic Brave, the mount of Pat Dobbs, while race favourite Farrier was a head back in third under Richard Mullen.
Selvaratnam, who has been based at Jebel Ali Racecourse since the early 1990s, ended the season on a high when Roicead annihilated his rivals to win the 1200-metre Shadwell Handicap by six-and-a-half lengths.
However, Selvaratnam was not the only trainer to make his mark on the final day’s racing as Emirati handler Musabah Al Muhairi also helped himself to a double with Canary Wharf and Bismark. Pat Dobbs did the honours on both Al Muhairi’s winners.
Earlier in the afternoon, Toolain rolled back the years to win his first start since 2010 when posting a neck victory over Jalaa in the Abu Dhabi University Handicap.
Jockey Richard Mullen delivered a masterclass aboard the Satish Seemar-trained six-year-old to deny former two-time British champion Paul Hanagan riding Jalaa for Doug Watson.
Only a neck separated the pair who fought it out for the last half furlong.
Mullen was full of praise for Seemar and his team at Zabeel Stables for what he described as the ‘straightening up’ of Toolain, who was winless in 19 races.
“That was a nice surprise, he was least chance of the whole day,” said the jockey, who is based in the UAE. “When they win like that you know that things are going the right way.
“He’s been mighty consistent but it’s a long time since he last won. I can only put it down to the boss and the team at home as they’ve straightened him up. I get the easy bit of just pointing him in the right direction [in the race].
“He travelled supremely well and when he had to knuckle down and dig deep he did so. At one point I thought I might have got there too soon because when he got his head in front he began to idle and I thought Paul’s horse [Jalaa] was going to show his class and battle him back.
“But in fairness my lad stuck to his guns and the more I asked the more he responded. It was a very gutsy victory.”