Trainer Mike de Kock saddles his first runner of the UAE season when USA-bred Pertinacious makes his racecourse debut in Race 5 at Jebel Ali on Friday, the 1400m maiden.
By Smart Strike, Pertinacious has a big price tag, having fetched $200,000 (R2.5 million) at the OBS Breeze-Up Sales in Florida in April.
Pertinacious, one of five juveniles in the 16-runner event, won’t need to be above average to make a serious impression. He will be partnered by Irish rider Colm O’Donoghue for prominent local owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa.
Arcarius, who has been knocking on the door in similar company recently, likes Jebel Ali and is a big threat under Italian Antonio Fresu, who is enjoying a good season. The Dubawi gelding is nicely drawn in stall No 4 – horses drawn low have enjoyed a bias this winter at Jebel Ali.
Doug Watson’s lightly raced charge Russian Miner has shown enough in two starts at Meydan to warrant respect on his Jebel Ali debut.
On his most recent appearance the son of Discreet Cat kept on nicely behind Chess Master, finishing less than four lengths behind the winner. That was a step in the right direction after a modest fifth on his racecourse debut. He looks open to improvement going up to 1400m.
The feature is a 1600m rated race and last year’s winner cbids for back-to-back wins in the hands of Tadhg O’Shea, the season’s leading rider so far. Good Trip returns to Jebel Ali after failing to make an impression in stronger company at Meydan earlier in the year.
Just A Penny, a five-time winner at Jebel Ali, was entitled to need his comeback at Abu Dhabi last month and is fancied to leave that form behind back at his favourite venue.
Frankyfourfingers, not seen since running second to last week’s Dubai Creek Mile (Listed) winner Heavy Metal in a valuable handicap at Meydan 11 months ago, must concede weight to his 12 rivals on his seasonal and Jebel Ali debut. The six-year-old, who likes to force the pace, is a major player representing a yard whose runners warrant respect fresh.
Gopi Selvaratnam-trained Albernathy caught the eye on his UAE debut at Meydan behind Galvanize, shaping better than the bare result suggests because he was slowly away. The four-year-old is fancied to come on for the run and could snap a lengthy losing run for the home team.
Half an hour later in Race 4 Satish Seemar’s charge Above Normal rates a good bet in the 1950m handicap. He went close on his recent local debut, only failing to reel in Ormindo over 1400m, a trip well short of his optimum distance.
He will be ridden by Richard Mullen and will relish the step up in distance. He is fancied to see off the attentions of Resonant and Brabbham, who have both enjoyed success at Jebel Ali already this season.
Racing closes with a competitive 16-runner handicap over 1200m.
Shillong, a winner here two weeks ago, looks vulnerable from a double-digit gate and up at the weights, so Rocket Power gets a narrow vote ahead of Galesburg.
Rocket Power, to be ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, won on his last visit to Jebel Ali and wasn’t totally disgraced on his first outing of the campaign at Meydan in November, leaving the impression this stiffer 1200m will suit.
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