11 March 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ The next to last race date of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian season was highlighted by a 2200m handicap won in determined style by Jaser, ridden patiently by Silvestre de Sousa for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami. The trainer saddled three of a total of ten runners, all owned by Ben Shahwan Arabian Racing Stables.
In a race run at a good gallop, early leader AF Mahshoum was committed for home leaving the final bend and appeared to have most of his nine opponents in trouble. He soon started to weaken under Jim Crowley and had no answer to Jaser’s (Akim De Ducor) challenge at the 200m pole. Mukaram finished seconod under Tadhg O’Shea for Eric Lemartinel and Al Asayl in the final 100m.
De Sousa said: “It is the first time I have ridden him but he is a lovely horse and one who would appreciate even further judged on that performance. The jockey added: “It is only his second outing on turf since arriving in the UAE and, after two runs on dirt, he has clearly relished it.He had some decent form on grass and over this kind of trip in Europe, so I imagine connections will be looking for similar races, perhaps next season.”
The only Thoroughbred contest, a 1400m maiden contested at a furious early gallop developed no great surprises as most of those who raced early finished out the back and well beaten. The one exception was Muqaatil, settled just behind the leaders by dual British champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa, with the pair taking the lead 300m from home and galloping on strongly to complete a quick double for the Brazilian.
The opening 1600m maiden was won in a surprise effort by Morjanah Al Reef with Fernando Jara in the saddle. After a slow start and through the first half, the Bibi De Carrere filly was nearer last than first among a well strung out 16 runners. At this turning point, the race looked a duel between long-term leader, AF Esnad and his rival Tawazun, giving valiant chase with Morjanah Al Reef spotted making good progress from the rear. Just when it appeared Tawazun had the upper hand edging ahead of AF Esnad less than 200m out, Jara pushed forward to land the spoils for Abdallah Al Hammadi and Al Ajban Stables.
Having her sixth career start, she certainly looks likely to stay further and Jara said: “It was a good finish in the end and I was worried I would not get to Tawazun but then my filly really gave everything in the final stages.”
Half an hour later a handicap over the same 1600m course and distance, produced a virtual carbon copy result with Jara, for the same connections, producing Bushrah Al Reef, also by Bibi De Carrere, late on to deny Bainoona ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for trainer Eric Lemartinel. Al Abjans’s Garnishh came a close third.
Bushrah Al Reef was winning for a fourth time, all at Abu Dhabi and over 1600m on three occasions. Jara said: “I am delighted for the owners and the trainer who have given me plenty of opportunities so it is great to ride a double for them. This one was probably actually a bit harder work than the first one but we were quite hopeful because I won on her two starts ago over this course and distance before she ran ok next time.”
Having finished runner-up on his four previous starts, all this year, MH Tawag (Bibi De Carrere) deserved a change of fortune and was able to get his head in front for the third time in his career in the lesser of the 2200m handicaps on the card. Settled in midfield by Harry Bentley riding for Elise Jeanne in the colours of Mansoor Khalifa Sultan Bin Habtoor, he made good progress on the home turn before keeping on relentlessly in the straight to deny Jeemi under Jesus Rosales for Lemartinel.
Bentley said: “You could see in the book the horse had plenty of good, solid, form and he has done that nicely this evening. I was able to get a good position and I thought we would go very close turning for home. He then picked up well and fought off the second horse and kept on strongly.”
Jeanne added: “The horse deserved that after so many good efforts this season and I am delighted for him, the owner who also bred him, and the whole team at home.”
A battle between two Omani jockeys in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only saw Anas Al Siyabi on AF Gadeer (AF Al Buraq) stave off a late challenge from AZ Laheeb under Omani Saif Al Balushi to win the 1400-metre handicap. AS Ansam finished third under Bernardo Pinheiro.
Partnering his sixth winner of the season, Anas Al Siyabi said: “Even though he had not won previously, this is a good horse and should improve. He jumped well and I was able to get a nice position. When others started to drift wide, we had a lovely gap on the rail and were luckily able to take advantage.”
The finale, a 1400m maiden, proved to be a historic occasion with O’Shea and Lemartinel, enduring a frustrating evening, combining to land the spoils with RB Brick House(Burning Sand x Ginkga (FR) by Tornado De Syrah), a first ever winner carrying the colors of Shka Alyazia bint Sultan Al Nahyan.
A new owner this season, it was just her eighth runner and O’Shea said: “I am delighted to ride this important winner in these colours because the owner, Sheikha Alyazia, absolutely loves her racing and breeding. She is very knowledgeable and passionate, as are her family and it is a great privilege to ride for them.”