Oisin Murphy, the promising Irish apprentice jockey, makes his UAE debut in Friday's season-opening meeting at Jebel Ali.
Murphy, 18, rides in all six races and becomes the latest in a long line of apprentice jockeys to have a spell with the Jebel Ali stables trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam.
Johnny Murtagh, Willie Supple, Brett Doyle, Pat Smullen, William Buick, James Doyle and Thomas Brown, last season, were others to have donned the popular yellow silks with black epaulettes of owner Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid.
Murphy, who is set to be crowned the champion apprentice in the UK, rides Yarroom in the opener.
The four-year-old son of Cape Cross has been unsuccessful in three starts on the home track but has won three times when trained in the UK by Roger Varian.
Murphy’s best chances of getting off the mark quickly seems to be on Roicead in the featured Conditions race over the minimum 1,000m trip and Sowalym in the concluding 1,400m handicap.
Roicead was an impressive winner of the 1,200m handicap at Jebel Ali’s final meeting last season.
“He has a lot of weight and is giving weight to some good horses who go very well here at Jebel Ali. He will certainly improve for the run but is fit and well,” Selvaratnam said.
The featured prize has drawn eight runners and four are in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.
Dane O’Neill, the retained jockey of the owner, rides Fityaan, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi.
The six-year-old gelding by Haafhd was second in the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint over the course and distance in both 2012 and 2014. He has yet to win on dirt.
“It’s never easy to choose in these situations, but Fityaan goes well at Jebel Ali and has been pleasing his trainer at home,” O’Neill said.
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