No bursting Buick's bubble

William Buick's good fortune knows no bounds at present as his rich vein of form in the saddle continued yesterday at Jebel Ali as he twice tasted victory.

DUBAI // William Buick's good fortune knows no bounds at present as his rich vein of form in the saddle continued yesterday at Jebel Ali as he twice tasted victory. Fresh from landing the plum job in the UK as trainer John Gosden's premier jockey, his win double also included the Dh120,000 feature event. Champion trainer Doug Watson also hit Jebel Ali form with a double, holding off the marauding Buick and Dhruba Selvaratnam in the fourth race and coming home strongest in the sixth.

Selvaratnam's Mannjal, owned by Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid, faced the highly-rated Montpellier in yesterday's six furlong Derrinstown Stud feature . Montpellier has been a consistent performer for Grandstand Stable but could not live with Mannjal's challenge, executed from the middle of the track, on Jebel Ali's uphill finish. To his credit, Montpellier, who was third while Watson's Classic Blue was second, was carrying top weight and has had a busy season, while Mannjal had a month away from the track.

"He has come on strongly," said Buick of Mannjal who was ninth last time out but prior to that had won at the track. "He runs well fresh and has been working very well at home. I expected a big run from him, but to be honest I didn't expect him to win quite so well." Mike de Kock's runner, Warsaw, the best-suited of the South African's four contenders, was fourth. De Kock, who also saddled fifth-placed King of Rome, will be looking ahead to the Carnival when he will benefit from the services of the French jockey, Christophe Soumillon, who has been contracted to ride for his principle owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa.

Buick had earlier picked up a win on Dahteer in the Dh90,000 Emirates NBD Benchmark Handicap over a mile. Dahteer, storming the finish by a margin of four-and-a-quarter lengths, beat another al Raihe charge, the always-consistent Estihdaaf, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid. Minted, trained by Erwan Charpy, led the field round the bend and finished nicely in third. "Dahteer is a real stable star," said Buick. "He's not superstar material but he always tries his best and is one of the nice horses in the yard who is capable of consistently picking up these smaller races."

Estihdaaf was fourth while Game Stalker, trained by Mubarak bin Shafya and ridden by Willie Supple, grabbed second. Gillian Duffield's progressive mare, Alghabra, owned by Khalid al Nabooda, claimed a win for jockey Tadhg O'Shea in the first race, the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum UAE Breeders' Society Plate for purebred Arabians. The five-year-old looked a picture of health in the paddock and followed up well from her win on her seasonal debut last month.

"She's a very nice mare and we were hoping that she would have come on from her last run," said Duffield, who said her runner had taken some time to find her form after being a little immature last season. "We will be looking for another championship race for her next." Red Stables handler, Watson, currently third in the 2009/10 trainers' championship, won the Dh65,000 Commercial Bank of Dubai with Daybreak Dancer, while al Raihe was back in winning form for the Emirates Airline handicap over ten furlongs when Ffrench and Rochdale beat runner-up Royaaty.

Richard Hills on Mutajammal was pipped by Patrick Dobbs and Bur Dubai as Watson's Red Stables scored again for owner Malih al Basti in the Al Shafar Investment Handicap over 1m 1f. @Email:stregoning@thenational.ae

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