2 February 2015, Abu Dhabi ~ The feature race at Abu Dhabi on Sunday’s marathon nine-race card was the 1000m Group 3 Al Ruwais and, for the fifth year running, HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the winning owner.
Twelve months ago the owner witnessed his pair of Rakha and Sha’Red dead-heat in a thrilling finish, but this year it was Sha’Red (Bibi De Carrere (FR) x Rudina (US) by Burning Sand (US) that led clearly to the win under Richard Mullen. Winning trainer Yousef Al Bloushi saw his entry surpass Areem, Bigg N Rich, and TM Super Bird to win easily in the end.
“These are the kind of spare rides we really like,” said Mullen. “His form was there for everyone to see and the trainer was very bullish before the race. To get past a class horse like Areem he must be a good horse.”
Since taking over from Ernst Oertel at Al Asayl, Salem Al Ketbi has been saddling plenty of winners and enjoyed another good evening, providing three victories on the extended card.
His Abu Alabyad (Akbar (FR) x Ortie (FR) by Djouran (FR) and Adrie De Vries took the Purebred Arabian HH The President Cup Prep race, over 2200m, denying stable jockey, Tadhg O’Shea and stablemate Skoop in the process.
“He is a nice horse,” said De Vries. “He has a lovely long stride on him. I rode him in work last week and really liked him. I would expect there is more to come from him and he will prove a nice new recruit for the yard now he has acclimatized.”
For the second time in three days, the trainer saddled a 1-2-3.
Having achieved the feat in the 3200m feature at Al Ain on Friday, Al Ketbi repeated the trick in a 1400m maiden with De Vries leading in on RB Inferno (TH Richie (US) x Burning Firestar (US) by BIG EASY (US).
They held on grimly from the late challenge of stable companions RB Inferno and RB Rich Surprise.
“I was told to be to be positive,” said De Vries. “It was only his second start and he has responded to my every call.”
Al Ketbi also combined with stable jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, to win the 1600m Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup with Abhaar (AL NASR (FR) x ALIAA (FR) by Djelfor (FR).
It was a third win from three career starts for the horse who proved too good for his 13 rivals.
“He is only a young horse but a very good one,” said O’Shea. ‘He is the best four-year-old we have in the yard at the moment and we really think he has a big future. Hopefully he can go right to the top as he is still a big baby and learning about the game.”
Shamikht Al Dhafra (KHATTAR AL NAIF (QA) x Advisee (US) by ZT Ali Baba (US) made a winning debut in the opening 1400m maiden, leading close home under George Buckell to the visible delight of trainer Hardy Hotger.
The French trainer-jockey pair of Eric Lemartinel and Gerard Avranche struck with Ain Jaloot in the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup.
Lemartinel provided both first and second in the 1000-metre handicap. Avranche had Ain Jaloot (Amer x SHOAGH (FR) by Dormane (FR) leading close home to deny stablemate AF Asefah under Osin Murphy. Ar Bint Al Arab under apprentice jockey George Buckell finished third in the 12-horse race which carried a prize fund of Dh 70,000.
The marathon fixture concluded with a 2200m conditions event and Jaber Bittar provided the first three home with Kana’An (Bibi De Carrere (FR) x TORNADE DU DESERT (FR) by Tornado De Syrah (FR) and Jesus Rosales prevailing. The 7-yr-old was chased home by Banan Al Reef and Foladh, also representing Bittar.
Denied a chance to defend his Jebel Ali Mile crown 10 days ago when the meeting was cancelled, the Dhruba Selvaratnam-trained Forjatt gained some compensation in HH The President Cup Prep race for Thoroughbreds over 1400m.
The second Thoroughbred contest, a 2200m handicap, was won emphatically by the Ahmed bin Harmash-trained Snow Squall.