23 November 2018, Dubai, UAE ~ 22 November 2018 saw the first Arabian race of the season in Meydan; the Group 2 Bani Yas sponsored by Gulf News run on the dirt over 1400m (7f) in which ES Ajeeb triumphed over the distance.
Fourteen runners went to post in what was considered to be a very open race. As several had run in the 1600m Jewel Crown two weeks previously, it would be interesting to see if the shorter distance would provide a different result, and indeed this is what happened.
ES Ajeeb , the only 4-year old in the race and relatively inexperienced, was drawn on the outside, but he used his speed and long stride to quickly take the lead and move over to the rail, bowling along happily in front. However the last furlong proved a nail biter as he was obviously weakening and Mawahib, fourth in the Jewel Crown, was gaining with every stride. The winning post arrived just in time and ES Ajeeb won by a nose.
Afterwards his jockey Sam Hitchcott described ES Ajeeb as the best Arabian he has ever ridden and how he had bravely hung on despite 6f really being his distance.
Mawahib 5yrs (Abu Alemarat x Fraynce by Dormane) trained by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also ran a very good race and seems to have returned to form, a longer trip will surely see her in the winner’s circle. Third was Cakouet De Bozouls 6 yrs (Dahess x Udjidor De Bozouls by Dormane) for Abu Dhabi racing and trainer Helal Al Alawi, and a neck away was Mirna 6yrs (Mahabb x Gliptika by Parusnik) trained for Yas Horse Racing Management LLC by Jean De Roualle. These four were a good nine lengths in front of the rest of the field.
ES Ajeeb is trained by Ibrahim Aseel for his owner/breeder HE Sheikh Abdulla Bin Majid Al Qassemi of Sharjah. He is by US-bred Big Easy (Burning Sand x Refleksja), proving a very good sire and now standing at Al Asayl. His dam is Bent Al Asayl (Djebel Lotois x Kaheela by Manganate) also bred by Al Asayl, and she comes from the very good old US damline of Fagai and has produced a winning full sister ES Tango.
The win time for the race was 1:33:91
~ Deirdre Hyde with Down the Straight reporting.