January 1, 2012, Abu Dhabi ~ January 1 produced lucky doubles for jockey James Doyle and trainer, Anthony Manuel, on a seven race card at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
Doyle and Manuel had a leg up on 2012, combining to win the opening two 1400m maidens, the first with Al Waqqad (Nizam(GB) – La Belle FatmaFR) by Pepe Le Mocco (FR)- leading to beat Shajaret Eddor Al Reef, ridden by Jesus Rosales by a nose in a time of 1:32:64
“It was great to start the New Year with a win,” said Doyle. “Though he [Al Waqqad] made hard work of it he did well to finish it off. I hope he will come on from this and improve.” In the second 1400m, Doyle brought home Bh Almozieg (Burning Sand (US) – Iuxa Du Bac (FR) by Manganate (FR) -over Kana’An by a length and a half in a time of 01:34:81.
Doyle was denied a shot at a third victory when his horse, Al Gharaaf W’rsan, refused to get into the stalls and was a late withdrawal. Two up, two down. Doyle then missed victory in the 1600 Handicap fourth race by a nose, when Mudallal Al Reef was beaten by the Eric Lemartinel trained, Naseem Al Reef (Nez D’Or (FR) x Diskoteka (RU) by Strij (RU)-, ridden by Gerald Avranche.
Thakif (Mahabb (AE) x Sheena (FR) by Djelfor (FR)- took over the third race under jockey, Harry Bentley. The Al Jahouri trained colt easily won the 1600 Maiden over Ubu Al Mels, denying Royston Ffench a victory. Bentley said: “I was never worried and always though I was on the winner. His form in France was very good and hopefully he can go on from here.”
Coming back strong, Ffrench was in the winning circle on race five, the 1600m Wathba Stud Farm Cup conditions race, on Tresor De Faust (AL Sakbe(FR) x Gina De Carrere (FR) by Rubis De Carrere (FR)- for trainer Mohd Ramadan in a time of 01:47:58.
Ffrench said: “On ratings we knew we had a decent chance even though the horse had failed to win before. He had to battle hard as plenty of us had chances close home and it was nice to come out on top.”
The most valuable race of the night, a 2200m handicap, produced the closest finish with the Gill Duffield-trained Takaamul (Djebbel (FR) x Valina Des Fabries (FR) by Djourman (FR)- prevailing by the narrowest of margins from Forgehill Cezanne in a time of 02:30:39. Richard Hills rode the winner and said: “It was very very close and nobody knew who had run. I think we would have settled for a dead-heat it was that close, but it is great when you get the verdict in such circumstances.”