Gopi Selvaratnam takes over from brother Dhruba at Jebel Ali stables
It's all change but little change at Jebel Ali stables, one of the UAE’s oldest racing yards, for the new season that starts at the beginning of November, after the Emirates Racing Authority on Thursday approved a trainer’s licence for Gopi Selvaratnam.
Gopi takes over from his brother Dhruba, who set up the stable and accompanying racecourse for Sheikh Ahmed Al-Maktoum in 1990, when he was recruited from his role as assistant trainer to Vincent O’Brien at Ballydoyle.
Apart from a two-year spell when he trained in Ireland, Dhruba has been Sheikh Ahmed’s trainer in residence ever since, but soon after the end of the 2016-17 season he returned to Ireland.
Rather than recruit from outside, Sheikh Ahmed and his advisers have called up Gopi Selvaratnam, who, having worked for his brother, held a licence independently, from a base in Sharjah, during his brother’s absence in the 2002-03 season and for a short time the following term before returning to the Jebel Ali fold with Dhruba. He has yet to saddle a winner from 26 runners, but takes over a stable that has recovered form over the last two seasons with 26 winners and Dh8 million (£1.7m).
The family connection with Sheikh Ahmed’s operation also extends to another brother, Karthi Selvaratnam, who is clerk of the course at Jebel Ali.
Speaking to the Racing Post from Ireland on Thursday, Dhruba said: “Sheikh Ahmed and I started the project 27 years ago and I’d like to thank him for all he’s done for Jebel Ali. I wish him and Gopi all the best for the new season.”