Huyam strikes for Al Alawi in Wathba Stud Farm Cup
23 November 2015, Aubu Dhabi, UAE ~ Eric Lemartinel saddled the 1-2 in the main Purebred Arabian race, a 2200m handicap, with Wayne Smith and Estourah (AL NASR(FR) denying Tadhg O’Shea and RB Rich Surprise at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club racecourse on Sunday, 22 November 2015.
In front fully 800m out, Smith’s mount was headed 300m from home by Live Rich, but Estourah fought back and was soon in front again with the finish line appearing in time for their first place finish. Live Rich would not go give way but was eventually denied second by O’Shea’s mount that was finishing fast.
“Eric said to be positive on her,” said Smith. “He was certainly right as she has galloped all the way to the line and really fought hard. I was briefly headed in the straight but she found plenty and battled back very gamely. It was a nice spare ride and full credit to Eric and his team.”
Having made a winning debut over 1000m at Sharjah just over two weeks ago, the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained AF Maqayes (AF AL BURAQ (AE) owned by Khalid Al Nabooda, maintained his unbeaten record in the opening 1400m conditions race. Never far off the pace under O’Shea, he had to work a lot harder for his victory on this occasion to get past Hakim with the pair apparently having the race between themselves from a long way out. As the line approached, Sattar Al Reef was flying home and little separated the trio at the line with Hakim denied second close home.
“He won well first time,” said O’Shea. “This was a better race but he has shown a determined attitude and is hopefully still improving. The 1400m is probably far enough for him at this stage but he is a horse we really like.”
The following 1600m maiden saw similar tactics employed to those used on AF Maqayes, this time Royston Ffrench the successful tactician aboard Wazn for Helal Al Alawi.
Having stalked the early speed, Ffrench set sail for home early in the straight with his willing mount quickening well. They never looked likely to be caught with Wazn opening his account at the 14th attempt.
“The yard are in decent form,” said Ffrench. “This horse’s best previous performances had been on turf and the 1600m suits him.”
The a four-year-old grey filly from Nizam, the Al Alawi-trained Huyam and Ffrench looked set to post a comfortable victory in the Wathba Stud Farm for Private Owners conditions race over the same course and distance when sweeping past AF Rahia. When Rahia would not go down without a fight Ffrench revitalized his mount to assert close home.
“This horse always runs a good race,” said Ffrench. “She was going strongly before the second fought back but I was always pretty confident.”
Fourth to Mh Kanz in this same series on her seasonal debut last week, Huyam registered her second career win on Sunday, her first coming in the Emirates Fillies Classic earlier this year in February.
Jockey Chris Hayes has made a very favorable impression in this his first season in the UAE and he produced Munaaf (Bibi De Carrere(FR), bred and owned by _, with a telling late challenge to snatch victory in the 1400m handicap. Trained by Ahmed Al Mehairbi, the five-year-old made relentless late progress to catch Es Maydan that seemed to have the race under his control with 100m to run.
“I am really enjoying my time here,” said Hayes. “I am based with Dhruba Selvaratnam and our horses have been running well. I thought we were going to get up and we just made it in time with the horse really responding well close home.”