Sunday 4 March 2018 ~ On Sunday, 4 March 2018 at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club race course, the 1400m Group 2 Arabian Triple Crown R2 for four-year-olds went to Goshawke partnered by Fernando Jara for trainer Abdallah Al Hammadi and his main patron Al Ajban Stables.
Another winner ridden patiently after a slow start, Goshawke (Thoroughbred (US) x Sand Witchh (US) by Burning Sand) was settled in about fourth, but not far off the lead before being asked to win his race about 300m from home and, once out in front, always appeared the likely victor.
Jara said: “We thought we had a live chance coming here this evening and everything pretty much to plan.”
The maximum field allowed, of 16 went to post for the opening 1400m maiden, but in reality, very few ever looked likely to influence the result. Tracking the early pace, Brett Doyle in the predominantly green colours of Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, always looked at ease aboard JAP Burhan (AF Al Buraq). The 4-year-old was having his third start but first on turf looked strong once they hit the front entering the straight followed home closely by Jinjal with Jara aboard, then Aseyl under Patrick Cosgrave.
Riding for trainer Irfan Ellahi, Doyle was continuing a good recent run and said: “I have enjoyed a lot of success here in the UAE over the years but, basically, am back this year with Godolphin and Charlie Appleby as a work rider. I have been lucky to pick up a few spare rides and now have managed a few winners which is great.”
Richard Mullen advertised just why he is the reigning UAE Champion Jockey when producing Rmmas(Mahabb) fast and late to land the 1400m Group 2 Liwa Oasis, one of the Purebred Arabian highlights on the card. Starting from the ninth post and racing in midfield throughout the first half of the race, Rmmas made smooth progress at the top of the straight but still had many of his 14 rivals in front. Once pulled wider, Rmmas, trained by Jean de Roualle for Yas Horse Racing Management, responded well to Mullen’s urgings producing a telling late dash to land the spoils.
Mullen said: “Fair play to the horse because drawn nine in a big competitive field like that is never ideal. He won nicely here over 1200m last time but that was from a nice low draw whereas today we were out wider. That is now three wins for the horse from just four UAE starts and, trip wise, he seems very versatile. I imagine that will be his last race of the campaign and, fingers crossed, he will be an exciting sort for next season.”
The final two conditions race on the card were 1600m handicaps, both won by horses trained by Ernst Oertel for reigning Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda. AF Waqas, the 5-year-old son of AF Al Buraq, won the AED 80,000 Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only over a mile’s distance in a time of 1:44:43. Recording his second win of his fledgling career, AF Waqas finished about a length in front of Dassan DA under Patrick Cosgrave while in third place was AF Ashras under Silvestre De Sousa.
The AED 80,000 final race on the card, sending 16 to the post, was won by De Sousa on AF Asheham in the time of 01:43:87. De Sousa, on his first ride on the Al Buraq son, took him clear about 600m out and led the way with only one other in contention, 2nd place finisher, Harrab ridden by Adrie De Vries.
De Sousa said: “He always traveled well and it was just a case of reminding him he was in a race at the top of the straight. He then responded well and from there we were never in much danger.”
The only Thoroughbred race on the card was the AED 380,000, 1400m His Highness The President Cup Listed race. First run in 1994, the prominent race was won in style by Muntazah (Dubawi) trained by Doug Watson for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum with the owner claiming the prize for the fifth time in six years.