Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Two former South African stars, Whisky Baron and Janoobi, will go head-to-head in the $300,000 Jebel Hatta (grade1) meeting in Dubai on Saturday.

Whisky Baron, winner of the 2017 Sun Met, and Janoobi, a dual Guineas winner, represent the powerful stables of Brett Crawford and Mike de Kock. Irish jockey Colm O’Donoghue partners Crawford’s runner, while Jim Crowley retains the ride for De Kock.

Crowley partnered Janoobi to a good win in the recent Zabeel Mile at Meydan in which Whisky Baron finished fourth. Crawford said after that race that his charge would be a lot better suited stepping up to the 1,800m of the Jebel Hatta.

There are a large number of Godolphin entries for Saturday’s race, with one of the main hopes being Folkswood, trained by Charlie Appleby. William Buick has been booked for the ride.

The "Super Saturday" meeting is the curtain-raiser to the Dubai World Cup meeting at the end of March.

Interestingly, French-trained Talismanic threw his hat in the ring for the World Cup race when he beat Arc runner-up Cloth Of Stars over 2,400m at Chantilly.

Al Sahem, formerly trained by Sean Tarry and now in the care of De Kock in Dubai, also runs on Saturday in the grade2 Dubai City of Gold over 2,410m. Former South African trainer Neil Bruss, now based in Saudi Arabia, saddles God’s Speed (Bernard Fayd’Herbe) in the grade3 Burj Nuhaar.

The Vaal hosts a nine-race programme on Thursday and punters, shocked by the win of Dorrie Sham’s 94-1 winner Itsmydarlin in the Pick 6 on Tuesday, will be paying close attention to the former Port Elizabeth trainer’s runners.

Sham sends six runners to the track and the pick of her sextet is likely to be Aussie import Baahir, which runs in the sixth race over 1,000m.

However, Sham will be well aware that her five-year-old faces a tough rival in another Australian import, Sirtain.

Sham saddles her three-year-old Battle Creek in this race, but the colt may battle to give weight to his older rivals. Although Clever Guy can improve with Piere Strydom in the saddle, Baahir and Sirtain should be sufficient for Pick 6 and jackpot perms.

In the opening event, it is quite possible that Sham’s juvenile filly Fararanga will take a hand in the finish as the daughter of Querari made a pleasing debut when running second to Free And Easy.

The field for this 1,000m sprint includes some choicely bred newcomers including Deerupt. It would be no surprise to see trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren’s import the favourite.

Other well-bred first-timers include Heaven’s Reward, trained by Lucky Houdalakis, and Dagmar, trained by De Kock for the China Horse Club syndicate. Lyle Hewitson, who set a record for wins by an apprentice when scoring on Shenanigans on Tuesday, has five rides at Thursday’s meeting.

Gavin Lerena rides Schippers and — earlier in the meeting — he should be on the mark on three-year-old That’s Life in the first leg of the jackpot. 

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