26 February 2017, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ The 26 February, Sunday meeting at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club was highlighted by the Emirates Colts Classic where the 1600m Prestige contest was dominated by owner/breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and trainer Ernst Oertel who supplied the first three home, headed by AF Al Sajanjle (AF AL BURAQ).
The choice from the trio of jockey Richard Mullen, the winner tracked stable companion, AF Maher under Antonio Fresu before throwing down a challenge on the home turn.
Fresu’s mount put up a real fight and it was only about 300m from home that the winner took the initiative with the runner-up still fighting for the win, ultimately, to no avail. Third was AF Yathroq after occupying that position much of the race.
“That is a great result for the owner and trainer,” said Mullen. “We were pretty confident we had a strong hand coming into the race and so it proved. Luckily enough I picked the right one and enjoyed some more success for Messrs Al Nabooda and Oertel.”
Owner and trainer later completed a double, courtesy of AF Hakeem never headed in a 1400m handicap with Fresu aboard the winner on this occasion.
The same connections’ for AF Al Almaa looked a massive danger throughout the straight before weakening in the closing stages, losing second near the line to AF Al Mawhebah.
“He was always happy out in front and then responded well when challenged,” said Fresu. “You always know you have a chance riding for these connections who do so well in these races.”
Fernando Jara was aboard Nawarat Al Reef (Bibi De Carrere (FR) stayed on to land a 2200m handicap for trainer Abdallah Al Hammadi who trains at the Al Ajban Stables in whose colors the winner runs.
Twice victorious previously, both times over 1600m but not since December 2015, the mare appeared to relish the stamina test on this occasion, seemingly outstaying runner-up ES Maydan looking a huge threat halfway up the straight.
“She did that nicely enough and found plenty when I asked her,” said Jara. “She stayed well and is game which always helps.”
The opening 1600m maiden was won by Arif (Azadi (FR) producing an ultra game effort with Sam Hitchcott in the saddle for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami. Well away, the pair led throughout the first half of the race but were then passed by eventual runner-up Noof KB. However, Hitchcott’s mount fought back to regain the initiative 250m from home and ran on strongly to land the spoils. Runner-up on his sole previous outing, he clearly has the right attitude and the front two were a long way clear of the remainder.