Wigmore Hall makes his seasonal debut in the Jebel Hatta.

Wigmore Hall makes his seasonal debut in the Jebel Hatta.

Michael Burns

Wigmore Hall Seeks Repeat in Jebel Hatta

Thirteen opponents, including Presvis, face defending champ in 1 1/8-mile turf event.

Wigmore Hall takes on 13 challengers as he defends his title in the $300,000 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates (UAE-IT) at Meydan Racecourse March 10.

The nine-furlong turf contest is one of two group I races that anchor the superb seven-race “Super Saturday” card, which serve as the principal stepping stones for the $27 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) program March 31.

The Jebel Hatta will once again serve as a seasonal debut for Wigmore Hall, a 5-year-old gelded son of High Chaparral trained by Michael Bell. After winning it in 2011, the bay gelding went on to finish third in the Dubai Duty Free Sponsored (UAE-IT) on Dubai World Cup day. Wigmore Hall later finished a good fourth in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) before going on to win the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes Sponsored by Vtech (Can-IT) Sept. 18. Regular rider Jamie Spencer will be in the saddle.

The hard-knocking Presvis will attempt to return to the winner’s circle after a somewhat disappointing fifth-place finish in the Al Rashidiya Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IIT) Jan. 26. In 2011, the Luca Cumani-trained gelding ran third, beaten just a neck in the Jebel Hatta before turning the tables on that rival when winning the Dubai Duty Free. Ryan Moore, who has ridden Presvis in 12 of his 26 lifetime starts, will once again be in the irons.

Trainer Mike de Kock will send out three contenders when he saddles River Jetez, Master of Hounds, and Mutahadee. World traveler River Jetez will be making her first start since finishing third to champion Stacelita in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park last August. The 9-year-old mare was the runner-up in two other group I races last season, the Singapore Airlines International Cup (HK-I) and the Dubai Duty Free. River Jetez did tally an impressive win in the Balanchine Stakes Sponsored by Emirates NBD (UAE-IIT) last season, however. Patrick Cosgrave will ride.

Master of Hounds and Mutahadee are both owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. Master of Hounds will be making his fourth start of the Carnival. He has placed once and finished third twice in three stakes races so far this season. The 4-year-old son of Kingmambo will be trying the nine-furlong distance for the first time in his career. Kevin Shea will ride.

The rapidly-improving Mutahadee will be partnered by Christophe Soumillon in the Jebel Hatta. The 4-year-old Irish-bred son of Encosta De Lago has won three of his six lifetime starts, and sports two straight victories over the Meydan turf course this season. The bay colt also was third to the talented filly, Banimpire, in the Keeneland Royal Whip Stakes (Ire-II) last year.

First City will be trying to add another victory to her already impressive resume. The 6-year-old mare by Diktat held off Mahbooba by a nose to win the Cape Verdi Stakes Sponsored by the Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-IIT) Jan. 20, only to fall short to that same rival in the Balanchine Stakes Sponsored by S.O.G. (UAE-IIT) a month later. Royston French will ride.

Godolphin will also have contenders in the race when they send out the group/graded stakes winners Rio de La Plata (Premio Roma GBI Racing, Ity-I) and Pisco Sour (Prix Eugene Adam, Fr-II), in addition to the English listed winner, Secrecy.

The field is rounded out by City Style, Albaasil, Ibn Battuta, Derbaas, and Dubawi Gold.

$300,000 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates (gr. I, race 8, 11:40 a.m. EST), 3yo (SH-bred) and up, 9 furlongs (turf). Fillies & Mares carry 121 pounds, all others carry 126.
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Pisco Sour (KY), S. de Sousa, S. bin Suroor
2. City Style (KY), M. Barzalona, M. Al Zarooni
3. Presvis (GB), R. Moore, L. Cumani
4. Albaasil (Ire), R. Hills, D. Watson
5. Ibn Battuta (KY), W. Smith, M. Al Muhairi
6. Rio de La Plata (KY), L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
7. Derbaas (KY), T. O’Shea, A. Al Raihe
8. Wigmore Hall (Ire), J. Spencer, M. Bell
9. Mutahadee (Ire), C. Soumillon, M. de Kock
10. First City (GB), R. Ffrench, A. Al Raihe
11. Dubawi Gold (GB), R. Hughes, R. Hannon
12. River Jetez (SAf), P. Cosgrave, M. de Kock
13. Secrecy (GB), K. Fallon, S. bin Suroor
14. Master of Hounds (KY), K. Shea, M. de Kock