March 2, 2014, Abu Dhabi ~ Owner HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and trainer Majed Al Jahouri always looked to hold all the aces in the Group 1 Liwa Oasis at Abu Dhabi on Sunday’s March 2 meet, and so it proved with their Areem (Mahabb (AE) x Canelle De Carrere (FR) by Djamel (FR) leading home a memorable 1-2-3 in the 1400m feature.
Winner of the 1600m National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi in each of the last two seasons, as well as the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan last year, Areem was second in this race 12 months ago when caught close home by stable companion Rakha.
This year, under Silvestre De Sousa, he proved far too good for Rakha, who finished second, himself nicely clear of the connections’ third runner, Sardan. Areem, in his first place gate to post run, also broke the track record with the time of 01:27:60. Also ran: Ragdan, Theoretcially, Wycked.
De Sousa, who landed four wins during the Meydan double header over the weekend said: “He is undoubtedly a very good horse and I think he is still improving. At no stage was I remotely concerned and we have broken the track record virtually on the bridle – we certainly could have recorded a quicker time.”
Al Jahouri added: “We always said it would be National Day Cup, Al Maktoum Challenge I and this race for him this season. He has won two of them so we have to be happy and it will be a similar campaign next year.”
A double for Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, surely guarantees he will retain his crown and, with both his winners saddled by reigning Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel, there must be a very good chance both will again lift their respective titles of trop jockey and top trainer.
Their brace was highlighted by the victory of Nymphea Du Paon (Mahabb (AE) x Safira Du Paon (FR) by Akbar (FR)in the main support race on the card, the third and final leg of the Arabian Triple Crown, but the success in the Group 3 contest was certainly not without drama.
Having led from the outset, O’Shea’s mount was challenged by constant rival, Swwing about 400m out and the pair were locked in battle throughout the straight with Swwing hanging on. O’Shea was forced to take a check, allowing Swwing to forge ahead before Nymphea Du Paon fought back to regain the initiative, only to be headed again by Swwing who passed the post narrowly in front.
After lengthy deliberation, the stewards reversed the placings and awarded the win to Nymphea Du Paon, the win setting a new track record for the distance of 2:41:10. This was the second win in the series for Nymphea Du Paon over Swwing (February 23). After having been eliminated in the first round on January 5 due to a steward’s ruling, that round was won by Af Al Hazer (AE).
Oertel said: “I think justice has been done and the stewards have made the right decision. That interference certainly disrupted her rhythm and momentum which, because she is basically a long striding filly, proved crucial.”
“She is a real star and we plan to bring her back for the UAE Arabian Derby in two weeks.”
Ted Durcan and Eric Lemartinel, the unfortunate jockey and trainer combination of Swwing, had earlier combined to land a 1600m conditions race with Naseem Al Reef (NEZ D’OR (FR) x Diskoteka (RU) by Strij (RU).
Lemartinel went on to complete a double with apprentice Noel Garbutt aboard AF Asefah (Burning Sand (US) x Fleur Du Cayrou (FR) by Dormane (FR), losing his maiden tag at the tenth attempt in a 1000m Wathba Stud Farm handicap for Private Owners for owner Khalid Al Nabooda.
The only Thoroughbred race on the card, the concluding 2200m maiden, went to the Ismail Mohamed-trained Covert Desire that headed the field end to end under Harry Bentley.
The meeting opened with a 1400m maiden and Dormilon (Dormane (FR) x Pella De La Coste (FR) by Elaborat) initiated their double with a hard fought victory. Having led in the very early stages, O’Shea was then content to allow Lahaan and ES Yaka’A to contest the lead, before regaining the initiative 400m out for trainer Oertel.
O’Shea’s mount ran on gamely and had enough left to withstand the late challenges of Hadreej and Majd Abu Dhabi.
After his double, Oertel joins Musabah Al Muhairi on 31 winners but leads the title chase having saddled more seconds.