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Gray gives Dubai duo a last prep run this Friday
Michael Lee

Stephen Gray’s two Dubai raiders Bahana and Newlands will have a last run-out this Friday before they set sail for the Meydan riches.


Newlands is entered in the $125,000 Kranji Stakes A Division 1 (1400m) Bahana, Gray’s 2016 Dester Singapore Gold Cup winner runs in the Kranji Stakes A Division 2 (1400m).


The Kiwi handler said Dubai was an appealing option with the paucity of long distance races in Singapore. The duo is scheduled to leave Singapore on January 28 and is being aimed at a 2000m race on February 8, which is part of the Dubai World Cup Carnival 2018.

New Zealand-based apprentice jockey Ruzaili Yatim looking relaxed at Kranji on Tuesday morning.

“They have both pulled up well since the Gold Cup,” said Gray. “Bahana lost by a whisker (to Gilt Complex) and Newlands got badly checked before the home turn.


“Luckily, Newlands came out okay from the race. He was in a great spot and could have won, poor bugger.


“He can stay but there are no races for him, and it’s the same thing for Bahana. There is nothing here for them, no options, it’s disappointing.


“So, I spoke with the owners and they thought Dubai would be the way to go. They will run in a 2000m race in Dubai on February 8 and there is another race three weeks later.

“I haven’t decided who will ride them. I may book the local riders there, we’ll see.”


Gray said that Friday’s distance will obviously be on the sharp side for the two stayers, but it will still serve as the perfect prep race before they board the plane.


“Both horses are going good. Bahana will be ridden by Noh Senari and will get a two-kilo claim while Newlands will be ridden by Alan Munro,” said Gray whose only previous international experience was with Emperor Max in England in 2015 (seventh to Muhaarar in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot)


“I’m very happy with their condition. They both had a nice quiet trial at the back (January 9) last week.”


Meanwhile, Gray was seen with his former apprentice jockey Ruzaili Yatim at trackwork on Tuesday morning. Currently based in New Zealand under the Singapore Turf Club overseas placement programme, the rider has come back to Singapore to sort some family issues.


“I’ve ridden 16 winners in New Zealand on the South Island. I wished I rode more winners but all in all, I’m happy with that score,” said Ruzaili, better known as “Smiley”, and is indentured to Christchurch trainer Neill Ridley.


“New Zealand is tough, but I have learned a lot there.”


Ruzaili notched up seven wins (all for Gray) during his formative years at Kranji between 2014 and 2015. He went to New Zealand in June 2016.