Review: Jebel Ali Sprint (L) and Jebel Ali Stakes (L)
[Saturday, 24 February 2018 11:07]
Shillong wins Jebel Ali Sprint & Montsarrat wins the Jebel Ali Stakes
A cracking card at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon was highlighted by two of their annual three big races. It was especially memorable for trainer Helal Al Alawi who saddled his biggest ever Thoroughbred winner, when Shillong ran on strongly to land the 1000m Listed Jebel Ali Sprint.
However having kicked clear 300m out, Barzalona’s mount, a turf winner at Meydan just last week was visibly tiring with 200m remaining and the jockey was sending out distress signals. Emerging from the pack was Shillong who has now registered all five career victories at Jebel Ali with Cosgrave in the saddle each time. Having won a 1200m maiden last March, he had already won three handicaps over that trip this season ‘up the hill’ and was denied by a head on his only previous try at 1000m.
Al Alawi, who trains the winner for the Byerley Team, was understandably delighted. He said: “This is a great result for us. We have had big wins with Sniper De Monlau, our best Purebred Arabian but are trying to improve our class of Thoroughbreds as well. Al Alawi continued: “This horse had done really well for us before today but this is a bit special and well done to Pat; it was a great ride on a horse he knows well.” Cosgrave added: “My horse loves it here as we know and I have blamed myself for a couple of his defeats. The 1000m is sharp enough for him but they went quick which helped him.” “He needs to be covered up and have something to chase so I followed High On Life and we were fortunate enough to get past him.”
The other feature, the 1950m Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, looked competitive on paper but was turned into a procession by Montsarrat, sent straight to the front by Tadhg O’Shea. They seemed to be going a good gallop from the outset with first Mizbah, then Top Clearance, unable to stay with Montsarrat.
Still sat motionless 600m out, O’Shea then asked for an effort and the race was over with the pair powering up the hill to win in style. They were chased home by stable companion Galles, who was probably second throughout the duration of the long straight under Xavier Ziani. Both are trained by Bin Ghadayer.
Over the same 1950m as the Jebel Ali Stakes, the opening handicap may not have been of the same quality as the feature but it produced a tremendous spectacle with four of the nine runners locked in battle with 200m left. O’Shea had led from the outset on Flashy Snapper for Bin Ghadayer, tracked throughout by Pat Dobbs on Tradesman. Meanwhile, settled further back, Bois De Boulogne, a stablemate of Flashy Snapper and Ziani started to make ground halfway up the long straight while at the same time Gavroche was making similar progress widest of all under Fernando Jara. Tradesman was the first to crack, weakening in the final 100m, at which point the Bin Ghadayer pair looked set to fight out the finish, only for Jara to galvanise Gavroche who led in the dying strides.