14 November 2019, Al Ain, UAE~ The last of the five UAE racecourses to stage a fixture this season, Al Ain hosted a seven-race card on Thursday, 14 November 2019 in which Duc De Faust made his mark in the 1800m handicap.
Fourteen went to post for arguably the highlight of the Purebred Arabian offering, but few were ever able to get involved. AF Taraha made a bold bid from under Tadhg O’Shea, only to be headed in the final 150m by Duc De Faust under Szczepan Mazur (Munjiz (FR) x Isis Du Clos (FR) by Djourman) for trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami.
AF Taraha battled back, but never looked likely to regain the initiative from Mazur’s mount, a 6-year-old gelding running for the Royal Cavalry Oman and recording a third career success, but initial victory on dirt at the seventh attempt. Making his seasonal debut and tackling the second longest trip he has attempted, he was always seemingly going well for Mazur before making smooth progress approaching the long straight and giving serious chase to AF Taraha from the 500m pole.
Mazur said: “I was always pretty happy and he has really battled hard in the final 300m to get past a very determined rival.”
O’Shea did not have to wait long to taste his first victory of the night, landing the following 1600m maiden aboard AF Yahawa (Murhib), trained by Ernst Oertel for Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda. Homebred, the 4-year-old colt was having his sixth career outing and second this season having finished a respectable fourth over 1000m at Sharjah less than two weeks ago.
Held up in midfield by O’Shea, the pair made smooth progress just after halfway before hitting the front with about 400m remaining, sweeping past Pharitz Oubai with the race seemingly over. However, the latter battled back, pushing the winner all the way to the line with the pair well clear of the remaining dozen runners.
O’Shea said: “Credit to the horse because the second has made him work very hard for that and both have showed a really determined attitude. My fellow clearly liked it here at Al Ain as he ran well when second over 1600m in March.
Now he has put his head in front it would be nice to think he can progress and win again.”
Connections then had to settle for second again in the following 1600m maiden for horses foaled in the UAE in which O’Shea went straight to the lead on AF Arrab, but they had no answer to the challenge of Asslan Al Reef (Mahabb) shooting clear 300m out to win easily.
Making just his second racecourse appearance, the 4-year-old was a bit tardy at the start, but soon tracking the leaders under Pat Cosgrave, sporting the lime green silks of Al Ajban Stables for trainer Abdallah Al Hammadi. When Cosgrave asked him to throw down a serious challenge the response was instant, the pair pulling clear with the horse having clearly benefited from his debut when a distant fourth over 1400m on the Abu Dhabi turf a fortnight ago.
“He was a bit lazy both from the stalls and in the early part of the race,” Cosgrave said. “However, he really picked up well when I asked him and has won that in good style. You would hope he is going to improve for that experience and should certainly be better over further as he was really staying on strongly.”
Restricted to horses in private ownership, the opening 1400m maiden was won in determined fashion by Bolereau (Kerbella x Djelana (FR) by AL SAKBE) trained locally at The National Stables of Helal Al Alawi and winning for the first time at the eighth attempt for owners Abu Dhabi Racing.
The Thoroughbred race
The only Thoroughbred race, a 1000m handicap, was won stylishly by Dombra, never far off what appeared a frantic gallop from the outset. Confidently ridden by Antonio Fresu for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri, in doing so he became a first ever winner for owners Al Rashid Stables with just their second runner. A 3-year-old gelded son of the mighty Frankel, he entered the starting stalls a maiden after nine starts, seven in Britain for Hugo Palmer, just two since joining current connections for 32,000 guineas at Tattersalls last October.
Having chased the speed throughout, the 4-year-old responded gamely to the urging of jockey Connor Beasley with the pair finally hitting the front close to home in an exciting finish. A close third over the same course and distance in April, he was beaten by a length when runner-up on the turf at Abu Dhabi on his seasonal reappearance at the end of October, also over 1400m.
Al Alawi said: “The horse deserved that because he has run some good races in defeat and has shown good form on both turf and dirt.He has shown a really good attitude throughout the straight and we are obviously very pleased with the win.”
The finale, a 1400m maiden, was turned into a procession by debutante Marmara XM (Grilla (US) x Shall We Dance BW (US) by LINE DANCER), probably never headed as she completed doubles for Mazur and Al Hadhrami. It was just a third winner for owner Ali Ebraheem Buhendi Abdulla Al Hosani, but on this evidence he could have a smart 3-year-old filly on his hands.