Sunday 30 November 2014, Abu Dhabi ~ Szczepan Mazur partnered unfancied Unique De La Garde to victory in the third round of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners Only Purebred Arabian Conditions over 2200m at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club here on Sunday night.
Having opened his UAE account at Al Ain on Saturday afternoon, the Polish jockey Mazur promptly doubled his count on Unique De La Garde. As with his Al Ain winner, this one was saddled by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, with whom the young Pole is based.
“Two winners in two days is a great surprise”, said the jockey. “I have only had 14 rides so I have to be very pleased. I had a good season in Poland with 67 winners and am really enjoying this experience.”
The six-year-old son of Dormane left the machines very quickly to lead to cross the line by a length and a half ahead of fast finishing Swwing under Gerald Avranche. Third in was Kana’An under Jesus Rosales.
The card opened with a 1400m conditions contest which, with the late defection of the Ernst Oertel-trained Abhaar, looked wide open.
Oertel’s remaining entry, Hakim under apprentice Daniel Muscutt, led until the 200m pole where they were swamped first by ES Kram but more significantly by AS Fayz (Nizam x AS My Saloon by Bibi De Carrere), losing his maiden tag at the fifth attempt for trainer Ahmed Al Mehairbi.
It’s rare that UAE Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel, and UAE Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea leave Abu Dhabi empty-handed and they combined to win a 1600m maiden with debutante Estourah (Al Nasrx Sylphide Al Maury (FR) by Dormane). Sent to the front early in the straight by O’Shea, she always looked in control to make a very pleasing racecourse debut.
“She travelled well, perhaps too much so as we probably hit the front 100m too early. She was getting tired at the end but kept on well. We had a great draw in one but you never want to get too far back from there but she was professional enough and it was a nice debut.”
Jockey Richard Mullen has been in great form during the early part of the season and added another winner to his tally when booting home Bouthayna Al Reef (Bibi De Carrere x Munafisah by Tahar De Candelon) for trainer Jaber Bittar in a 1600m handicap. Prominent early on, the eventual winner seemed outpaced just after halfway but ran on strongly to lead close home.
The trainer wasted little time in completing a double, this time with Sam Hitchcott in the saddle on Al Hamra (NEZ D’OR (FR) x Dalia (AE), winner of a 2200m handicap.
Originally settled in mid division, Hitchcott’s mount made steady progress to hit the front halfway up the Abu Dhabi straight to the delight of the jockey, riding his first winner of the local season.
Hitchcott said: “This mare has her fair share of temperament so we took her down to the start early and that helped to relax her. She appreciated that this evening and won well enough in the end.”
The featured 2200m handicap and the only Thoroughbred race of the evening at Abu Dhabi on 30 November was won by Ukrainian, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and partnered by stable jockey, Royston Ffrench.