December 11, 2011, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Frenchman Gerald Avranche made the best possible start to the evening with the Mohamed Al Ketbi – trained, Al Hamra (Nez D’or (FR) – Dalia (AE) by Taher de Candelon (FR), to win the opening 1600m maiden in 1:47:64. The four-year-old filly was having her second career start, having placed fourth in the same distance on 27 November.
Avranch completed his double in the fourth race on AF Maqam Alezz (Amer – Etoile Du Pigne (FR) by Manganate (FR)- in the 1200m handicap Wathba Stud Farm Cup for trainer Eric Lemartinel in 1:18.85. The pair were following up last week’s win over 1000m and Avranche said: “We were very hopeful he could win again and the extra 200m was always likely to suit him. As we turned for home 400m out I knew I was in a very strong position and he quickened nicely when I asked him. It has been a good evening and Al Hamra was a nice ride to pick up. She was very inexperienced but did it well. She should improve again.”
Race three saw the Jaci Wickham trained, Raeaa W’RSan ( Amer – ROYAL GIRL (US) by Monarch AH (US )– under James Doyle take the 1600m Damess Handicap for Fillies and Mares in 1:47:16.
Tadhg O’Shea took Jaber Bittar’s, Rahawan Al Reef (Bibi De Carrere (FR) – Tataya(FR) by Nuits St Georges (FR) -to the winning circle in the 2200m Nez D’Or handicap. He then produced his double with the victory of the Doug Watson-trained Quite A Show (Falina des Fabries (FR) – French Braids (US) by Virgule Al Maury (FR)- in the 1600m handicap. Owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the five-year-old was another repeating a recent victory, having won here a fortnight ago over 1400m. O’Shea said: “This horse is obviously in great form – Doug and his team deserve a lot of credit for that. He was not particularly favored by the weights but we felt it was worthwhile taking the chance and it has paid off.”
The only Thoroughbred race on the card was the concluding 2200m handicap and Champion Jockey Wayne Smith made virtually every yard of the running on Treble Jig for his retained stable, that of Musabah Al Muhairi.
1. Chaikh Man maiden, Purebred Arabians, UAE Bred, Dh 35,000, 8F: 1.Al Hamra (Mohammad Al Ketbi) Gerald Avranche; 2.AF Lafeh (Gillian Duffield) Tadhg O’Shea; 3. Ameer Al Sraya (Mahmood Hussain) M. Henry.
2.Bibi De Carrere, Rated Conditions, 00-75, Dh 40,000, 11F: 1.Rahawan Al Reef (Dr. Jaber Bittar) Tadhg O’Shea; 2. AF Qamoos (Eric Lemartinel) Gerald Avranche; 3. Kalid D’Or (Sahbi Rajhi) Gaeton Faucon.
3.Damess Handicap, Fillies & Mares, Dh 50,000, 8F: 1. Raeaa W’rsan (Jaci Wickham) James Doyle; 2. Jawhara Al Reef (Gillian Duffield) Carlos Sanchez; 3. AF Al Lijam (Eric Lemartinel) David Smith.
4. Wathba Stud Farm Cup, Handicap, 00-70, Dh 40,000, 6F: 1. AF Maqam Alezz (Eric Lemartinel) Gerald Avranche; 2. GRP Mundish (Bakhit Al Ketbi) Wayne Smith; 3. MH Al Wadi (Doug Watson) Tadhg O’Shea.
5.Nez D’or Handicap, 00-95, Dh 80,000, 8F: 1. Quite A Show (Doug Watson) Tadhg O’Shea; 2. Maghazi (B Deutrom)Matthew Henry; 3. Forgehill Cezanne (Ernst Oertel) Ted Durcan.
6.Gee Whizz Handicap, Thoroughbreds, 70-95, Dh 80,000, 12F: 1. Treble Jig (Musabah Al Muhairi) Wayne Smith; 2. Achill Bay (Satish Seemar) Harry Bentley; 3. Air Of Grace (Esmail Mohammad) Antioco Murgia.