Otaared the pick in a quality field for Jebel Ali handicap
It is definitely a case of quality over quantity in the featured 1,400m handicap at Jebel Ali on Friday with only seven declared, including course specialist Otaared, trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed.
A winner five times over course and distance, he also boasts a 1,600m victory and looks primed for a big run under apprentice Thomas Brown.
Stable jockey James Doyle actually rides stablemate Yaa Wayl who will be having his first start for the yard having left Godolphin, but he has to prove himself on this dirt surface and may be best watched on this occasion.
The race is restricted to horses who ran in the UAE last season without winning and Filfil is dropping markedly in class on his first start for Satish Seemar – the trainer responsible for four of the six winners at the last meeting.
Richard Mullen rides and said: “It will be his first race on dirt but he trains well on it at home.
“He is only three taking on older, more experienced horses but we are hoping for a good run.”
Doug Watson saddles Oasis Dancer, twice a runner-up at Jebel Ali this season, and he should go close again under Pat Dobbs.
The penultimate 1,800m handicap is a good contest with Ibn Battuta, third in the 2010 Jebel Ali Mile, a fascinating contender for Musabah Al Muhairi with Wayne Smith aboard.
Winner of the 2009 HH The President’s Cup at Abu Dhabi, Ibn Battuta was third in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan in 2010.
He has been rather fragile though but ran well enough on his seasonal return, over an inadequate 1,200m, on his first start since March 2012 and only his 12th ever career start.
Smith explained: “He has so much ability but has been so difficult to keep sound. He seems fine at the moment and should go well.”
If he does fail to fire, the Doug Watson duo of Storm Belt and Mushreq should run well, along with Moonlight Dash for the potent Seemar/Mullen combination.