Australian handler Michael Costa launched his second season at Jebel Ali Racecourse in stunning fashion by winning five races on the card.
Costa, who took over the reins at the iconic stables in the middle of 2022 and went on to saddle 14 winners for the season, continued his successful run as his runners dominated the first meeting of the new campaign on Friday.
Two-time Brisbane champion jockey James Orman, who jetted into Dubai for a short-term riding stint, was on board all five Jebel Ali winners including Alhzeem, a very impressive winner of the featured Season Opening Cup sponsored by Shadwell.
Orman, who just recently narrowly missed out on winning a maiden Australian jockey’s championship, will probably be pinching himself after enjoying a stellar afternoon at one of the UAE’s most popular racing venues.
Mozahim kicked off the five-timer when comfortably landing the Maiden Stakes Sponsored by Al Shafar by four lengths before
Marsoom captured the 2yo Novice Stakes when leading home a 1-2 for Costa in the 1,000-metre contest. Pat Dobbs chased the winner home aboard Turjman.
After champion trainer Doug Watson took the fourth race with Rayig, Costa and Orman combined to sweep the remaining three races on the card with Eljenob, Alhzeem and Wessall.
‘It’s great for my team,” said Costa reflecting on a memorable afternoon’s racing. “They have worked extremely hard over the summer so it’s good to start the season strong for the team.
Commenting on the way Alhzeem ran away with the Shadwell feature by five and a half lengths Costa said: “He dominated a really nice race at Meydan last season and he handled the track over there.
“He’s a horse who shows that he can handle a mile, a mile and a half. So this was a nice starting point for him. “I’m excited to see how he goes in some better races over at Meydan. Once he gets a bit of racing under his belt we’ll step up in distance,” added Costa.