Mohammed Al Ahmed, general manager of Jebel Ali Racecourse, hails Godolphin’s return to the track. File
Amir Naqvi, Sports Editor
Jebel Ali Racecourse will host its ninth meeting of the season on Saturday, headlined by the track’s most prestigious race, the 1,600-metre Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile.
Sponsored by Shadwell, the Thoroughbred race offers Dhs575,000 and has attracted 12 of the best horses, including the 2019 winner, Naser Askar’s Secret Ambition, Tenbury Wells, Down On Da Bayou, Fanaar, and Sovereign Prince.
The highlight of the six-race card also marks the return of Godolphin’s royal blue silks at the iconic Jebel Ali Racecourse after a hiatus of three years.
Welcoming Godolphin’s return, Engineer Mohammad Saeed Rashid Ali Al Shehhi, Director General of the Office of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and General Manager of the Emirates Racing Authority, expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the Godolphin team for their participation in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile.
Another feature on the card is the Jebel Ali Sprint Prep Trophy, which is the second round of Sheikh Ahmed’s ambitious Emirates Sprint Racing Series.
Mohammed Al Ahmed, general manager of Jebel Ali Racecourse, thanked Sheikh Mohammed for his unflinching support to the horse racing industry locally and internationally.
“On Saturday, we are hosting our biggest race of the season, called the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, which has always attracted top international horses.
“It’s a great pleasure to have Godolphin in this prestigious race.
“I would like to thank Sheikh Mohammed for his continuous support to horse racing in the UAE and on the global stage. I would also like to thank trainer Charlie Appleby for taking part, which adds value to the feature race and helps us attract more and more international horses.
“The race has also attracted other international runners who are competing in Dubai World Cup Carnival races too,” he added.
Salem Bin Ghadayer, who tasted success twice in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, looks to hold strong claims with Tenbury Wells. He also saddles Down On Da Bayou. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of the Executive Council, owns both horses.
To mark the track’s biggest race of the season, the organizing committee has named the 9th meeting “Glorious Saturday Festival.”
“The Glorious Saturday Festival is open for fans, and there will be lots of activities to mark this special day of our racing calendar.
“Kids activities, raffle tickets worth Dh30,000, and many other whopping prizes, including cars, are on offer for the fans and public coming to enjoy races at our racecourse, which amplifies the party atmosphere,” said Ahmed.
Ahmed also praised Sheikh Ahmed, patron of Jebel Ali Racecourse, for his unwavering support.
“Today, Jebel Ali Racecourse is a proud witness of the great role played by Sheikh Ahmed in the promotion and development of horse racing,” Ahmed added.
Godolphin’s acclaimed trainer, Appleby, has pinned his hopes on Sovereign Prince, a 4yo gelded son of Dubawi.
Sovereign Prince has posted three turf victories at Meydan for Appleby, including taking the Listed Jumeirah Classic in 2022 and the Zabeel Trophy.
Appleby said: “This will be our first runner at Jebel Ali, but we were keen to support the race as it has a lot of history. Sovereign Prince has a wide draw in 12 but will be very competitive if he performs to his best.
“He has some form on dirt, having run in last season’s Saudi Derby, so the surface won’t be completely alien to him,” he added.
The Jebel Ali Sprint Prep, which is run over the same 1,000 metres as the listed race, appears to have a competitive field, with runners like Upper Class, Meshakel, Story Of Light, and Royal Commando among the favourite contenders.