Jalaa gives sheikh Coventry focus


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The Independent Online

One of the sport's newest partnerships maintained a perfect record yesterday to set up a tilt at Royal Ascot. Powerful owner Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum joined forces with the reigning champion trainer, Richard Hannon, for the first time this season and at Leicester the exciting two-year-old Jalaa made it two winners from two runners for the pair.

The well-bred Jalaa, a Street Cry half-brother to the 2008 Dewhurst Stakes winner Intense Focus, strode clear of his rivals for an impressive debut success and now has the Coventry Stakes in 13 days' time as his target.

The colt, ridden by another of the sheikh's new signings this term, the dual champion jockey Paul Hanagan, took yesterday's six-furlong contest by two and a half lengths. "We were a bit worried about the soft ground," said assistant trainer Richard Hannon Jnr, "but he's won this very well and his attitude looked very good."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Roserrow (8.30 Kempton) Improved notably on his debut effort to beat some highly regarded and more experienced types second time out. Progressive and starts off in handicaps on what may prove a generous mark.

Next best

Cats Eyes (2.30 Nottingham) Won readily on her turf debut and competes at a similar level today.

One to watch

Checkpoint (Sir Henry Cecil) An unraced half-brother to progressive Jet Away, has been showing up well on the Newmarket gallops in recent weeks.