Dubai: Emirati handler Musabah Al Muhairi is attempting daring back-to-back wins with sprint star Russian Rock as he looks for rich pickings on consecutive days at Jebel Ali and Meydan this weekend.
The five-year-old son of Invincible Spirit, an eight time winner in the UAE, is entered in both the Dh500,000 Jebel Ali Sprint on Friday and the Group 3 $175,000 Meydan Sprint on Super on Saturday.
Russian Rock is also bidding for a hat-trick of wins in the Jebel Ali feature, following impressive performances in the five furlong dash in 2012 and 2013.
Al Muhairi’s stable jockey Wayne Smith takes the ride seeking an eighth success at Jebel Ali and seventh over this 1000m course and distance.
The jockey said: “Obviously these are his optimum conditions and he should run his usual honest race. He is not getting any younger but should be thereabouts in a good race.”
Twelve months ago Russian Rock was chased home by Kilt Rock and Sholaan, both of whom re-oppose on Friday, together with 2011 scorer Spin Cycle, who was sixth in the race last year.
However, Sholaan looks a big danger to Al Muhairi’s star having displayed strong form when winning the Jebel Ali Sprint Prep two weeks ago when in receipt of weight from Russian Rock. They meet at level weights this time but Sholaan would appear to be the one to beat.
Trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam, he will once again be ridden by stable jockey James Doyle who said: “His win over 1200m two starts ago was good but his win last time, in the prep, was a better run. The 1200m is probably his better trip but he has the pace for 1000m and should go close.
“Obviously we do not get weight from Russian Rock this time and there should be little between them but we hope our horse is improving.”
Kilt Rock, five time course winner, would also appear to have genuine claims. He has been beaten by Russian Rock on seven occasions, three of which saw him occupy the runner-up slot.
The seven-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway comes into the race on the back of a eye-catching win on Turf at Meydan which has boosted the confidence of his trainer Doug Watson
“That success should have done his confidence the power of good and he has run plenty of good races at Jebel Ali. This race has been the target all season and he goes there in good form,” said the American handler.
“It is a strong renewal but he should run his race and be competitive.”
Merhee, who has run three times at Meydan without much luck, is an interesting entry for South African maestro Mike De Kock.
Fityaan, runner-up to Russian Rock in this race two years ago, also starts.
Friday’s card also features five other races, with the first race starting at 2.15pm