THERE were no Stewards’ comments available at the time of writing, but it will be interesting to see how the ERA (Emirates Racing Authority) in Dubai views the interference caused to Johann Strauss in the Zabeel Mile at Meydan on Thursday.
Here’s how this website, reporting independently, sees it:
Coming into the home bend Forjatt (Christopher Hayes), one off the rail, is pulled out sharply to start his challenge, causing Johann Strauss to make a quick but unplanned move to the outside as jockey Christophe Soumillon tries to avoid contact.
With a domino effect in progress, Johann Strauss is immediately checked again as Soumillon pulls him back inside to avoid running into Championship, the horse on his outside. Soumillon and his mount manage to escape injury but with his momentum totally lost, Johann Strauss slows almost to a waltz and his chance in the race is as good as gone before the business end.
There is a difference between aggressive race riding and dangerous race riding – we’d venture to say jockey Hayes’ display on Forjatt belongs in the latter category. Runners and riders came off unscathed, but this is an incident that should be thoroughly investigated as the outcome could have been frighteningly different.
With a swing at the weights taken into account, there was a 6.5-length reversal of form between Johann Strauss and the winner Safety Check on their encounter in the same race last year and Mike de Kock commented: “Considering his troublesome run Johann Strauss ran very well, he started making up ground steadily once he found his stride again.”
Mike said that Soumillon was full of praise for Johann Strauss after the race, saying that he could be a factor in the Dubai Turf over 1800m if he gets into the big race on Dubai World Cup night. The Zabeel Mile has proven to be a setback, but the stable will be aiming the son of High Chaparral at the Gr1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday, 5 March, and hoping for a run good enough to qualify for the Dubai Turf.
While Johann Strauss was fighting to stay on his feet, Zahee was on his bicycle in the Mile and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s six-year-old almost pulled it off, caught in the final strides by Safety Check and Ghaamer. “Zahee could have won the race with a more patient ride,” argued Mike.
Screen shots from Zabeel Mile, on the home turn, 25 February 2016
Forjatt (all yellow) is plucked to the outside, see the direction of his head on a pulling arm. Should Forjatt’s jockey Hayes have looked back to see what was behind him first?
Damage done. Forjatt is straightened while Johann Strauss (blue cap) moves out to avoid contact.
Johann Strauss is checked again to avoid bumping Championship (white sleeves). Race over for JS.
Race replay here.
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