Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 4, 2011 –After a grand weekend marking the 40th anniversary of the UAE National Day with the world’s richest endurance ride for women, the action shifted to flat-racing with another race in His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup series. The French pair of trainer Eric Lemartinel and jockey Gerald Avranche, who started off the new season with a win in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup series opener on October 30, returned to the winner’s circle when AF Maqam Alezz (Amer – Etoile Du Pigne (FR) by Manganate) scored a win in Sunday’s fourth race at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. AF Maqam Alezz appreciated the 1000m sprint, clocking 1:04:04 while defying the top-weight five kilo disadvantage in this competitive race for Private Owners.
Avranche did well to keep the lead on the the Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda- owned 7-year-old and held on to win by half a length despite a late charge from Meshwar NEZ D’OR (FR) – Mascotte De Piboul (FR) by Bosphore (FR) under Wayne Smith, and third place finish, RS Fancy Dancer under Royston Ffrench.
Avranche said of his win: “He has plenty of speed and I was able to track the pace from my low draw which helped him.
Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raih, continued his amazing start to the season with the 1600m win by Mestor (Mahabb (AE) – Mendra (FR) by Sousse), who had made short thrift of his rivals in the second race in a time of 1:46:74, the prep race for the three-year-old Abu Dhabi Championship. Jockey Ffrench said, “We knew we had an exceptional chance so were quite happy to be out in front as we were when he won here last time. The Abu Dhabi Championship is the logical next step and he is a nice young horse to have in the yard.” Two and three in this race were 2.Shamal Al Asayl (Djel Bon (FR) – Aicha D’Espiens (FR) by Cheri Bibi), and 3.Um Dormane (Ezil (FR) – Nomarchie(FR) by Djelfor).
Tony Manuel continued his great run with Yazan, (Jaib De Carrere (FR) – Najmat Al Asayl (FR) by Newday), winning the opening 1600m maiden under Richard Mullen who said: “I had a bit of luck as my intended mount was a non-runner and Tony kindly put me on this one. Tony’s horses are in great form and this one will improve as he was still looking around and will have learned from that.”
Jaber Bittar is another trainer whose horses are running well and his Najem Al Khalij (Bibi De Carrere (FR) – Rhapsody In Blue (FR) by Tidjani), a winner on the All-Weather at Meydan nine days previously, made it two for the campaign in the 1600m handicap. Tadhg O’Shea was on board for both wins and the jockey said: “He was giving a lot of weight to some of these but showed a nice turn of foot and did it nicely. Hopefully there is more to come from him.”
O’Shea completed a double when landing the 2200m handicap on Versac PY (Njewman (FR) – Elipse (FR) by Tidjani), another following up a win on his previous start. Trained by Erwan Charpy, he had won at Sharjah last week and O’Shea said: “We took a bit of a chance heading here so quickly after last week but he is a tough and versatile horse so we were hopeful he would be ok.”
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Arabian Horse Society and IFAHR, supported by Fegentri with Emirates airline as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Mauzan, Alasabeh Al Sihriya, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International.