AF Maqayes Lands Group 3 Sprint Victory at Abu Dhabi ***

Maisoor (Burning Sand (US) undefeated after eight starts

ES Fatek

ES Fatek

5 February 2017, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~The Group 3 Al Ruwais over 1000m was the feature at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, 6 February, and seven may have gone to post but AF Maqayes was the stand-out winner.

Trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and a three-time course and distance winner last season, this was the 5-year-old’s fourth start over this 1000m dash and ridden confidently by Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, the son of AF Al Buraq went straight to the front and never looked likely to be headed.

He is very fast and we have not been able to find suitable races for him this season before this one,” said O’Shea. “He is very straightforward for a jockey because not only is he very quick, but he is also very genuine.”

Homebred by Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, he was a second winner on the card for the owner who had already dominated the opening 1400m maiden with fillies trained by Ernst Oertel when they combined to supply the first two home.

Al Nabooda’s homebred AF Makerah, making a bold attempt to make all under Richard Mullen on her second start, was headed close home by stable companion Tijaara, sporting the same colors but actually bred by the Shadwell organization of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Winner Tijaara (No Risk Al Maury (FR) was ridden by Antonio Fresu and was opening her account at the fourth attempt.

To be honest, entering the straight I thought we were beaten,” said Fresu. “However, she really picked up over the final 100m and, taking this as evidence, will appreciate stepping up to 1600m.”

The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Gold Cup over 1600m, with Prestige status and a purse of AED 150,000, was won by the Eric Lemartinel-trained Hamza (AL Nasr (FR) ridden by O’Shea, initiating a personal treble for himself and for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Having made all over 2000m on his previous start, stamina was never going to be an issue and O’Shea was clearly determined to utilize the fact, going straight to the front and gradually winding up the tempo.

I was happy to be positive on him as we know he stays further, said O’Shea. “He did it nicely enough but was, perhaps, getting a bit lonely out there in front.”

O’Shea completed a treble for himself and a double for Al Rayhi when victorious aboard ES Fatek in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners handicap at 1200m. Despite a determined effort by AF Maher under Richard Mullen, ES Fatek (Big Easy (US) won by a head. In third place in the Dh 70,000 race was Safina Ghantoot ridden by George Buckell.

ES Fatek Award

ES Fatek Award

He is a really nice young horse and one learning all the time,” said O’Shea. “He will have learned a lot here today and hopefully can progress from this.”

The main support race was the 1600m Listed Arabian Triple Crown R1 (AED 250,000) which was turned into a procession by Omani raider Maisoor in a virtual carbon copy of his sole previous UAE start over the same course and distance in the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship in early November.

Homebred by the Royal Cavalry Of Oman, Maisoor (Burning Sand (US) is now undefeated after eight starts, six on the Doha dirt and two here at Abu Dhabi. Trained by Said Al Badi, for whom he remains a sole UAE runner and thus boasts an unbeaten local record as a trainer, he was again ridden by his regular jockey, Anas Al Siyabi.

As was the case in November, they were just far too good for the opposition, a viewpoint fully supported by his jockey.

He is very good, a bit special even,” said Al Siyabi. “He has been exceptional at home in Oman on the dirt but also proved himself just as good on turf here, twice. He is an exciting horse and it is great to be associated with him. He is a positive advert for racing and breeding in Oman.”

The only Thoroughbred race on the card was the concluding 1600m handicap won by the Satish Seemar-trained Taaj, producing late to claim the spoils by stable jockey, Richard Mullen.

Full Results:

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