20 January 2019 ~ The Sunday, 20 January 2019 meeting on the Abu Dhabi turf was highlighted by HH The President Cup Prep, over the same 2200m course and distance as the Group One feature itself, which produced a shock win from Jaser, running with the second lowest official rating of the 14 runners.
Owned by His Excellency Al Sheikh Nasser Mohd Nasser Al-Hashar, the 6-year-old Jaser (Akim De Ducor x Membola by Barkas)is trained by Younis Al Kalbani, whose horses have been out in great form, and was ridden by Szcezpan Mazur, who celebrated his biggest ever career winner ten days ago when partnering Wadeeaa to victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (PA G1) at Meydan.
Settled in midfield, he made smooth progress on the home turn before sweeping past early leader, Shaheer about 350m from home. They went clear, but Jaser seemed to tire close home and had to dig deep to deny the late challenges of Abu Alabyadand Ajjaj.Abu Alabyad finished second for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Ajjaj finished third for Yas Horse Racing Management. Shaheer came in fourth.
Mazur: “That was his seasonal debut because, with his rating of 82, he has been hard to place being too good for many races, but not good enough for the better ones so this was a good opportunity to actually race him for the first time since March. He travelled nicely throughout the race and took me to the front, but after his long break, has perhaps tired and had to fight hard close home. Luckily the winning post appeared in time!”
Owner Khalid Khaifa Al Nabooda, his main trainer, Ernst Oertel and retained jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, are enjoying a productive campaign and combined to land the opening 1400m handicap with AF Hakeem, (AF AL BURAQ x KINANA (FR) by Kesberoy) winning for the fourth time, the second over course and distance. Having tracked stable companion AF Mathayel, both homebred by Al Nabooda, throughout the early part of the race, O’Shea shot clear at the top of the straight and soon had the race in safe keeping.
O’Shea said: “He is a lovely horse, tough and genuine, though he only has one eye, so lacks a bit of confidence which is why we took him to the start early. He was only narrowly denied last time when Sam Hitchcott rode him, so he deserved another win and has done that nicely in what was a competitive race.The jockey added: “The team at home have done very well with him and we have worked out how to ride him to best affect, so hopefully, he can win again.”
The same team later combined to complete a double when Noof KB (AF ALBAHAR x Karimah by Frere Des Loups) was victorious in the 1200m handicap Wathba Stallion Cup for Private Owners, maintaining an unbeaten record over course and distance having easily won a similar handicap in November. The 6-year-old mare, one of the owner’s very few runners he has not bred himself, also had a 1600m Abu Dhabi maiden victory in December 2017 to her credit.
Al Nabooda said: “She is a nice mare and I will breed from her in time, but she is
running very well at the moment as are most of my horses. I have a very good trainer
in Ernst who has had the horses running well all last season and we all know Tadhg is champion jockey which was why I was keen to retain him.”
O’Shea added: “Mr Al Nabooda puts an awful lot into the sport, so deserves these victories and in Ernst, has a trainer with a very good record with the Purebred Arabians.”
The following 1600m maiden was won stylishly by the well-bred Brraq, (Mahabb x Fattana by Njewman) a 6-year-old having his second career start after a fourth place finish on debut, over 1800m, on the dirt track at Al Ain where he is trained by Jean de Roualle for His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Settled in midfield by Richard Mullen, he made smooth progress before hitting the front halfway up the straight on the rail, winning easily.
De Roualle said: “We are really happy with that because this is a nice young horse
having just his second start – a horse that has not been easy to train, so my staff deserve a lot of credit. He was always scared of other horses, but after a lot of hard work, has gained in confidence, so this success is particularly rewarding.”
Mullen added: “All credit to Jean and his team because this horse has been a challenge, but hopefully, is going to be a smart one for them and His Highness.”
Trained by Eric Lemartinel for his main patron, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ras Asina (TH Richie (US) x HAIFA’A (FR) by Dorwan Du Cayrou) produced fast and late to lead close home under Pat Cosgrave to land the spoils in a 1600m rated conditions stakes. Restricted to mares aged five or over and without three career victories to their name, the 5-year-old, on her ninth outing, was doubling her tally having previously scored on debut over 1400m at Abu Dhabi in November 2017. Settled in the middle of the nine runners, she was switched wide by Cosgrave early in the straight to produce her telling challenge down the centre of the track.
“She made it quite hard work, but came good in the end when it mattered,” Cosgrave said. “I always thought I was going to win, but she has just made me work harder than I perhaps expected at one stage. Anyway, we managed to get there in the end and she is a decent enough mare in her grade.”
The only Thoroughbred race on the card, the concluding 1400m handicap, provided
probably the easiest winner of the evening with Adrie de Vries seemingly sat motionless throughout aboard Legendary Lunch before leaving his 13 rivals toiling in the final 150m to win impressively on his second local outing.
~ end supplied report