2 March 2020, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Racing in the capital at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday, 1 March 2020, was highlighted by the 1400m Group 2 Liwa Oasis in which the exciting AF Alwajel recorded a career best and first win on turf to deny this year’s Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 heroine RB Money To Burn. The Majid Al Arab-bred filly led for the majority of the race, but could not withstand the determined challenge of the winner.
Under Tadhg O’Shea, riding for his main employer Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Ernst Oertel who trains the vast majority of the owner’s powerful string, the homebred 5-year-old entire by AF AL BURAQ was seemingly under pressure at halfway, but responded to his jockey’s urging to give chase to RB Money To Burn, the race quickly developing into a duel over the final 350m. Once passed, the filly tried to fight back, but the winner was not stopping to open his turf account at the fourth attempt to add this prestigious prize to three victories on the Sharjah dirt surface.
O’Shea said: “We have always held this horse in the highest of regard and well done to Ernst and his team because they have produced him for this race in great shape, which makes my job a lot easier. RB Money To Burn is a big scalp to take and my horse also defeated ES Ajeeb at Sharjah, so is developing a good knack of beating top horses. He stays further and has now won half of his eight starts. He is a horse to be excited about.”
Al Nabooda said: “Winning big races with these home bred horses is very special and particularly rewarding. In Ernst and Tadhg, I have a great team as this, again, has proven.”
Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown
The main support race and restricted to 4-year-olds, the 2200m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R2, went to Basmah(Bibi De Carrere) under a positive ride from Fabrice Veron who sent his mount, one of three fillies among the 13 runners, straight to the front and they stayed there despite the persistent challenge of RB Kinsman throughout the straight. Previously a maiden after four starts, thrice finishing third, once second, the homebred filly was opening her career account in the process for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Eric Lemartinel.
“We were keen to be positive on her because she does not really quicken but gallops,” Veron said. “The runner-up threw down a determined challenge, but my filly kept on finding more and I am very pleased with her.”
The owner’s racing manager, Salem Al Ketbi, added: “That was a very pleasing win and good performance from the filly, as well as the jockey. She is a home bred, so a big race win is all the more satisfying.”
For horses in private ownership, a 1600m handicap may have attracted the maximum allowed field of 16, but very of the runners ever threatened with AF Hakeem making a bold bid to lead all the way under Bernardo Pinheiro, but unable, despite battling back, to deny SS Jalmod (JINAD (AE) x YA SALAM) by Djel Bon) that gained the initiative entering the final 250m before keeping on strongly.
Sporting the silks of Nasir Askar, Richard Mullen was in the saddle for Satish Seemar and had his mount in second or third throughout the majority of the contest before asked for an effort by his jockey, responding well and gaining a deserved success.
It was a second career win for the 5-year-old gelding, but first on turf having previously landed a 1400m at Al Ain last March when trained by Younis Al Kalbani.
Mullen said: “I am delighted for the owner and whole team to win on this horse who has run plenty of good races in defeat and is a fun little horse to have in the yard. He takes his racing well, so we were happy to run him again after he finished third at Jebel Ali just nine days ago.”
The meeting concluded with the only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1600m handicap which proved to be a landmark occasion for jockey Ryan Powell who finished fast and late on Trolius to deny O’Shea, Seemar and Askar doubles by snaring their Welford in the closing stages after it appeared O’Shea had nicked the race when kicking clear leaving the home turn. However, Powell, who had settled his mount in the middle of the field of 16, asked for an effort early in the straight and was rewarded with a telling burst, their challenge timed to perfection to grab victory.
The fixture kicked off with a 1600m maiden and having saddled a brace at Al Ain on Friday for owners The Royal Cavalry of Oman, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami provided the owners with another winner, courtesy of debutante Raghida (Josco Du Cayrou). Settled in midfield by Szczepan Mazur, who was also in double form at Al Ain including one winner for these connections, asked the home bred 4-year-old filly to close on the home turn. Sent after the leaders, she quickened well to lead with about 225m remaining before staying on strongly to deny Wahag SB who finished well to take second.
Hadhrami said: “It has been a good few days and our horses have been running well throughout most of the season. We hoped she would run well, but to make a winning debut is a very pleasing effort from a nice filly and it is particularly pleasing she is home bred.”
Mazur added: “I was always pretty happy, travelling well and then she accelerated when I asked before running on strongly all the way to the line. Hopefully she will improve for that experience.”
The following 1600m maiden, restricted to horses foaled in the UAE, produced a dramatic finish with Connor Beasley delivering AF Alareeq (Al Kesbe) to lead in the very final stride to deny Marwa W’Rsan that looked the likely winner when hitting the front 300 out and was almost caught for second by her stable companion Wakeel W’Rsan. Chasing the leaders on the home turn Beasley was short of space for a moment, but once they found daylight, his 5-year-old entire flew home to grab a dramatic success, opening his account at the eight attempt. He is trained by Ahmed Al Mehairbi for Saif Asheer Al Sulaiman Al Mazrouei
Beasley said: “I was a bit short of room at the top of the straight, but luckily we found a gap and then he ran on very strongly. Given the traffic problems and under a big weight that was a good performance.”
Al Mehairbi added: “That was a very exciting finish and well done to the horse and jockey for getting up to win.