10 March 2017, Al Ain, UAE ~ Richard Mullen, one of the Jockeys’ Ambassador for the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, extended his red-hot form to Al Ain on Friday evening, 10 March.
In keeping with his top jockey form, Mullen rode three winners at Meydan on Thursday evening, then struck again with a double in Al Ain on Friday, with one of his two wins in the Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup For Private Owners race.
The Al Ain meeting opened with the Dh 70,000, 2000m Wathba Stud Farm Cup handicap where Mullen scored on Dorhess De Brugere (Dahess).
The duo, having tracked the pace throughout the race, hit the front over 300m and kept on strongly to win fairly comfortably.
“The horses are in great form and he responded gamely when I asked him,” said Mullen. “Hopefully, we can continue this good run until the end of the season.”
Mullen completed his second hat-trick in less than 24 hours in the final race, a 1000m handicap for trainer Ernst Oertel and owner Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah on AF Meeqat (Mahabb).
In between, he captured the day’s feature event – the Al Ain Mile – for trainer Helal Al Alawi who saddled Aslaan (Bibi De Carrere) for owner HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, beating stable companion RB Goliath in the 1600m Prestige contest thus winning for the fourth time and third time at Al Ain, as well as a third victory this season.
The pair had the race between themselves throughout the final 200m when Royston Ffrench and RB Goliath settled just off the pace, setting their sights for home. Aslaan and Richard Mullen, making stealthy progress throughout the straight, took the initiative with 100m remaining. They galloped on resolutely with Ffrench’s mount keeping on well in second.
“Full credit to connections as the trainer was pretty confident he would run a big race,” said Mullen. “He stays a lot further so I knew he would be staying on strongly in the straight and it is great to ride another nice winner for HH Sheikh Mansoor.”
The 1600m handicap produced a thrilling finish with Avranche and the Eric Lemartinel-trained Bashayer (Calin Du Loup) overhauling AF Tathoor and Mullen in the dying strides.
Owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it was a third career victory for the mare needing every inch of the trip to produce a determined late challenge to put her grey head in front where it mattered. In doing so, she recorded a second course and distance victory with a 1400m Al Ain maiden victory also to her credit.
“That was desperately close and I did not know who had won,” said Avranche. “We had actually weighed in before the result was announced so we knew it was very close. She really ran on strongly for me and is a tough mare who really likes it here at Al Ain.”
Fifteen may have gone to post for the 2000m maiden but the Al Nabooda duo of AF Mashoum and AF Abahe, were the two in the dual for the win.
Trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, AF Mashmoun (AF AL Buraq) was soon in front under apprentice Saaed Al Mazrooei, stalked by Mullen aboard AF Abahe. The pair disputed the running at the end of the back straight and into the home turn before Al Mazrooei committed for home fully 600m out.
His mount responded, going two lengths clear and, despite visibly tiring in the final 300m, plugged on gamely to hold on and register his first career victory at the ninth attempt.
“He was second over course and distance in January so knew he would stay,” said Al Mazrooei for whom it was a first winner since returning recently from injury. “He likes being ridden positively and was very game in the closing stages as he was tiring.”
Adrie de Vries took TM AC-Dc (Djendel) straight to the front in a 1400m handicap and the pair stayed there, pulling clear in the straight to provide trainer Yousif bin Ghilan his second winner of the campaign.
Gerald Avranche and Al Yaboob were victorious in the only Thoroughbred contest, a 2000m handicap, hitting the front inside the final 150m and running on well to record a first win of the season for his trainer, Ali Jan.