JJ The Jet Plane roared back into form at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night, installing himself as a favourite for the Dubai World Cup-day Al Quoz Sprint on March 26, reports SARAH TREGONING in The National.
The well-named gelding – one of the world’s highest-rated grass sprinters – came back from a disappointing effort on the Tapeta last month to hold off challenges from Iver Bridge Lad and Green Beret, despite carrying 7kg more than the rest.
JJ The Jet Plane wins. (Andrew Watkins).
And weight is certainly an issue for JJ The Jet Plane at the moment. His trainer, Lucky Houdalakis, said the horse was carrying some condition when he ran out an uncharacteristic 11th in his Golden Shaheen Tapeta prep.
He was beaten on that occasion by last night’s third, Green Beret. Now, given yesterday’s victory on grass, Houdalakis said the gelding will be aimed at the turf Al Quoz Sprint instead.
“I’m relieved,” said Houdalakis, who trained JJ The Jet Plane to multiple Grade One victories in South Africa before handing the horse over to Mike de Kock, for an international campaign.
Houdalakis, a part owner of the runner, took over training again in September last year after JJ The Jet Plane ended an uninspired spell with top British trainer, Richard Hannon.
“It’s just not like him to come last, even considering the change in surface,” said Houdalakis, who runs a small string in South Africa.
“I know what I did wrong, I gave him too much time off.
“He is still not down to his racing weight, but for his last run he must have been around 30kgs over weight and he was carrying an extra 7kg on top of that.
“It was not the right night to try him on a new surface.
“He’s not quite down to his best weight and you would have to think that he will come on again for this run. He could be a little fitter and he’ll be right on the night.”