|23 December 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on |
Sunday, 23 December 2018 was highlighted by the best of the Purebred Arabian action. Fabrice Veron on Bainoona (Mahabb x Miledy Del Ma by Kesberoy) devoured the ground in the final 300 to snare AF Maher, providing a thrilling finish with under Tadhg O’Shea, in the closing stages.
Trained by Eric Lemartinel for his main patron, His Highness Sheikh
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the 5-year-old mare was registering her
fifth career victory and third over course and distance. She had also won a 1600m Abu Dhabi handicap on her previous outing when ridden by Pat Cosgrave.
“She had a low weight today so I was able to ride her,” Veron said. “She won well for Pat last time and we were pretty hopeful she could follow up which she has done nicely. Mr. Lemartinel and his team at Al Asayl have the horses in top form and it is always a pleasure to ride in these silks.”
Turning for home in the opening 2200m maiden, at least ten runners still appeared to hold realistic claims before Kaseb and Pierantonio Convertino shot clear with what initially appeared a race-winning move. However, in behind, Bernardo Pinheiro and AF Al Montagem (AL KebseAF Kalrajm by Amer), always a contender just behind the early pace set by Seafe, were making relentless progress and grabbed the initiative with150m to run, powering away to win easily for Ernst Oertel and his main patron, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda.
Pinheiro said: “I was always happy tracking the pace on the inside and when I really asked him to close he responded well so I was pretty confident throughout the majority of the straight. Mr. Oertel told me the horse was a lazy type and to keep busy on him, so that is what I did and the trainer was proved correct. I thank connections for this opportunity.”
A second 1600m Purebred Arabian handicap, this one restricted to fillies and mares, was dominated by Al Nabooda and Oertel who supplied first and second in a race few of the 16 runners were ever able to land a blow. Having tracked the early leader, Al Jawaher, throughout the first half of the race, AF Makerah (AF Al Buraq x Aicha Croixnoire by Dahman El Arami) hit the front under Antonio Fresu with the majority of the opposition beaten before they even entered the straight.
Fresu said: “As I always say, when you are riding for these connections you know you are on a live chance and she had run well on her last startThat was over 1400m and the trainer was confident the extra 200m would suit her tonight so I was happy to ride her positively.”
A third consecutive 1600m handicap, this one restricted to horses in
private ownership, followed and Al Nabooda went one better with the first three home all sporting his black and silver silks.
Again O’Shea set out to make every post a winning one and found a willing partner in AF Asheham leading until the dying strides, only to be passed by Ben Curtis and AF Momtaz, saddled by Musabbeh Al Mheiri. AF Momtaz then veered towards the centre of the track where Fresu and AF Motaghatres were finishing fast before losing momentum when involved in a bump with Curtis’ mount. Fresu just had time to regain some impetus with his charge responding determinedly to lead in the final strides, denying AF Momtaz by a nose and a neck back to AF Asheham in third.
A delighted Oertel, having watched AF Motaghatres (AF Al Buraq x Fattakah by Makzan), a 1400m Abu Dhabi maiden winner in January, score for a second time on his tenth start, said: “It has been a great evening and we knew we had some good chances. Mr. Al Nabooda is a pleasure to train for and has some very nice horses, which I am lucky enough to have in my care.”
Jesus Rosales and Shawall made a gallant attempt to make all in the 1200m maiden, the pair pestered throughout the duration of the straight by JAP Al Afreet, finally managing to get his head in front inside the final 100m for Brett Doyle, only to be mugged close home by the fast finishing Daber W’Rsan (Heir Apparentt (US) x Desstiny by Monarch AH).
A first winner of the season for Jaci Wickham, the 4-year-old debutant was nearer last than first entering the relatively short Abu Dhabi straight but once he understood what was required of him by Connor Beasley, made relentless progress throughout the final 300m to snatch a dramatic victory. It was also a maiden success of the campaign for his owner, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also bred him. “That is very pleasing because mine are not normally fully tuned up first time out,” Wickham said. “Connor has given him an excellent ride and the horse will hopefully improve a lot from that.”
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