Dubai: Gopi Selvaratnam, the new Jebel Ali Stables boss, says he delighted to welcome Oisin Murphy back as stable jockey and is hoping to forge a fruitful relationship with the talented Irish youngster.
Murphy, the Killarney-born but English-based rider, has four rides at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, including an interesting one aboard the Gopi’s Call To War.
“Call To War has come on from last season and is at a nice weight,” said the handler. “We’re hoping for a good run from him.”
The American-bred three-year-old gelding will be having his first start in nine months, but Gopi has no fitness concerns.
“He’s been training well and goes well fresh. So we’re hopeful.
“We also have Gabool, who is an older horse, in the race and this is a good race to see how well he has trained on from last year.
“He knows his way about this track and we’re looking forward to seeing how both our horses fare.”
Asked about his expectations for the season and the role Murphy can play, Gopi said: “Oisin’s been with us before so he knows how we operate. It does help a lot.
“It was not difficult to get him to say yes to being our stable jockey for the season, as he wanted a break from Hong Kong.
“Since his last stint here he’s matured a lot and is one of the top ten jockey’s in the UK if not the world,” added the trainer.
“He makes sure he knows everything about the horses he rides and puts in a lot of homework. He’s a thinking jockey and I’m sure he’ll be a big asset to Jebel Ali Racecourse this season.
“I’m really looking forward to working with him again.”
Murphy booted home 17 winners during his previous season with the yard in 2015-2015 including a notable victory aboard Dormello in the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship.
Since then Murphy has gone on to make a name for himself in the UK where he rode 76 winners from 578 rides during the recently concluded season where he earned in excess of £2 million.
Murphy arrives in the UAE in rousing form having won the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, Canada aboard the Andew Balding-trained Blonde Me and the Prix de la Forect on Arc day at Chantilly, France for Martin Meade, courtesy Acclaim.
Murphy has also picked up two spare ride aboard Finish Touch for Godolphin-trainer Saeed Bin Surour and the Mohammad Ramadan-trained Gervais.
Meanwhile, Jebel Ali Racecourse announced the sponsors for Friday’s six races during a press conference attended by the representatives and in the presence of Mirza Al Sayegh, Shadwell Chairman and Shareef Al Halawani, Jebel Ali Racecourse Manager. They include Derrinstown Stud, Al Sahel Contracting, Al Shafar Investment, Ascana, Orient Irrigation and Serve U.