Rags-to-riches sensation Treble Jig has garnered plenty of lines in this blog over the past few weeks and he looks like he could be writing plenty more if all said is to be believed, writes Ross Birkett.
The cheap cast-off from Newmarket has turned UAE racing on its head since arriving to sunnier climes last season and became the first horse to win both the Jebel Ali Stakes and Mile in the same season… twice!
However, there could be another dramatic twist around the corner after the six-year old’s name was amongst 130 others listed in the Emirates Racing Authority horses in training sale held early next month at Meydan.
Now, he wouldn’t be the first big name to be entered in the auction and withdraw shortly before walking into the ring after connections have a change of heart but word has it that he will go under the hammer and be available for purchase – for the right price.
With career earnings of over £250,000 and more to come, owner Fathi Egziama won’t let him go for peanuts with a reported 2,000,000AED (£350,000) reserve price tag on his pride and joy. It has to be wondered though if those locals wealthy enough to consider such a purchase have fallen in love with him sufficiently to pay that much.
In a culture where rivalry is fierce and there’s nothing better than beating your mate’s horse, I have a feeling someone may just stick their hand in the air come March 6th.
Whilst the remainder of the sale is made up by a motley crew of perennial dodgepots, one name that does stand out is Burano.
Trained by Brian Meehan, the four-year old was just touched off at the Carnival two weeks ago and looks more than capable of winning a big prize out here. However, it must be noted that he was entered in this sale 12 months ago and subsequently withdrawn.
The star of this week’s action at HQ is undoubtedly Igugu, who lines up in the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes over 1800m (1m1f).
South Afica’s Champion racehorse hasn’t been seen since landing the Grade 1 J&B Met in January 2012 but that’s through no fault of her own. With the plan always to come to Dubai, she has had to undergo a year-long quarantine, taking in a journey to Dubai via Mauritius and Newmarket.
Rather like Frankel, at a walk she is not the flashiest of individuals but when revved up and going full pelt, she is something to behold with a giant stride on her that gobbles up the ground.
She has been galloping with stablemate Treasure Beach (who incidentally is absolutely flying but I don’t know when he runs next) and trainer Mike De Kock thinks she is fit enough to do herself justice. She’ll need to be though.
In opposition we have Sajjhaa, winner of the Group 2 Cape Verdi Stakes last time. A strong travelling worrier, she benefitted from the soothing effects of a hood last time and it is kept on again. Although I think she stays this far, I just wonder if it is her optimum trip with her success last time coming over 1600m/ a mile.
Let’s not forget Lily’s Angel, who has been a revelation since joining Irish handler, Ger Lyons, winning her last four starts, including at Meydan last time.
She was meant to run against Sajjhaa in the Cape Verdi but came into season just before then and had to miss the engagement. The enforced break has reportedly done her the world of good and freshened her up.
One last word to Await The Dawn. Most famous for winning the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011, he runs in a handicap off a mark of 118 but still looks like he could win it. I’ll be killed if I don’t mention the fact Julia Feilden (or ‘mum’, as I call her) has his unraced half-brother at home (shares still available) who has been going well on the gallops, and was trained until recently by none other than Sir Henry Cecil. Even Geegeez’s top-gun Matt Bisogno has a leg in him!
[Editor: It’s only half a leg, but I’m excited to see him run soon… more info here.]