Dubai: Musabah Al Muhairi’s ultra-successful start to the new season continued at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday where the Emirati handler plundered two more wins, including the big feature race of the afternoon, the Derrinstown Stud Handicap.
Al Muhairi, whose horses were in devastating form at Meydan’s season-opening meeting last week, winning four out of six races, took his tally to seven following the victories of Mashaaref in the feature event and Muarrab in the CBD Handicap.
Both winners were booted home by stable jockey Wayne Smith, who also triumphed in the afternoon’s opening race, the HH Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Breeders Society Challenge for Purebred Arabians aboard the Helal Al Alawi-trained Safina Ghantoot.
However, the defining performance of the afternoon was delivered by the exciting Muarrab, who notched his second successive success at Jebel Ali, which established himself as a front-runner for the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, one of three major events that are staged at the track each season.
A son of Oasis Dream, Muarrab tracked the leaders for the first half of the six-furlong contest before taking the race by the scruff of the neck and putting it to bed with a resounding seven-length victory under Dane O’Neill.
“When I asked him he found lengths that I didn’t know he would find,” said the jockey. “It was a step up in trip today but he handled it well.
“Even the last furlong takes a lot of getting used to, but I was going so well and I was able to stretch him. And when I looked around, I was amazed at how far behind the others were.
“He’s been fit and ready from day one and I guess among the local pack he seems to be ahead of them.”
If Muarrab hardly broke a sweat in posting his big success, then Mashaaref’s seven-and-a-quarter length victory in the Derrinstown Stud Handicap was equally imposing.
Wayne Smith dropped Mashaaref mid division before making his move at the 400-metre mark when the Shadwell-bred son of Cape Cross found an extra gear to leave his rivals trailing in his wake.
The jockey was delighted to win the feature event for the second successive meeting at Jebel Ali following Muarrab’s victory a fortnight ago and said of his winner: “He can be a quirky horse on a given day but he can also do the business. He’s pretty fit and that’s full credit to the boss, who does a great job getting these horses ready to race. It’s a lot of hard work, but it seems to be paying off.”
Meanwhile, Harry Bentley rode his first winner of the season aboard the Esmail Mohammad-trained Encipher in the Al Shafar Investment Handicap over 1,400 and so did promising Emirati apprentice Saeed Al Mazroui who was aboard the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Mutajare in the concluding race of the day, the Al Redha Insurance Brokers Handicap over 1,800.
The racing spotlight shifts to Sharjah on Saturday, where it will stage a six-race card sponsored by Shadwell, the thoroughbred breeding empire of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
Race 1. HH Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Breeders Society Challenge (PA) 1,200m Dirt:
Winner: Safina Ghantoot (H Al Alawi) Wayne Smith.
Race 2. Al Shafar Investment Handicap (TB) 1,400m Dirt:
Winner: Encipher (I Mohammad) Harry Bentley.
Race 3. Derrinstown Stud Handicap (TB) 1,400m Dirt:
Winner: Mashaaref (M Al Muhairi) Wayne Smith.
Race 4. Arabian Scandinavian Insurance Company Handicap (TB) 1,400m Dirt:
Winner: Firstknight (D Watson) Tadhg O’Shea.
Race 5. Commercial Bank of Dubai Handicap (TB) 1,200m Dirt:
Winner: Muarrab (M Al Muhairi) Dane O’Neill.
Race 6. Al Redha Insurance Brokers Handicap (TB) 1,800m Dirt:
Winner: Mutajare (Ali Rashid Al Raihe) Saeed Al Marzooei.