March 14, 2014, Al Ain, UAE ~ Al Ain’s fourth meeting of the season on Friday afternoon was highlighted by the concluding 1800m conditions race, won by the Munjiz son Ghalib, trained by Majed Al Jahouri for HH Sheikh bin Zayed al Nahyan.
A Group 2 winner in his native France, Ghalib had failed to win in his seven previous outings but, once sent clear by apprentice, Marc Monaghan, rectified that in style.
Having contested the Group 1 middle and final rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge on his previous two outings, Monaghan’s mount clearly appreciated this drop in class and was able to give weight to his ten rivals.
He broke the track record in the process and Monaghan said: “It looked a decent race but he had shown in France that he has a touch of class as he showed there. It was a good win and a great ride to come in for.”
Only six went to post for the preceding 1600m conditions contest and the field was soon reduced to five with Tadhg O’Shea’s mount unseating the Champion Jockey as the stalls opened by rearing up sharply and giving O’Shea little chance to maintain the partnership.
His absence left the way clear for Haajeb (MAWOOD (AE) x Shumoos (FR) by Djouras Tu (FR), like Ghalib owned by Sheikh Mansour but trained by Yousef Al Bloushi, to open his local account at the fourth time of asking. Runner-up on his previous Al Ain outing last week, he won this easily under apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei.
The Emirati jockey said: “I am not sure how strong the race was but he won it well. It is my first Al Ain winner and eighth in what has been a reasonable season.”
Thomas Brown was in the saddle and the pair loomed large behind the leaders 300m out before hitting the front 200m from the line and running on strongly.
Brown said: “If you saw this horse work in the mornings you would not believe this was his first UAE win. He clearly likes this surface and hopefully there will be plenty of opportunities for him back here next season.”
Debutant Nashmee (Akbar (FR) x Jade Des Pins (FR) overcame the worst draw of 14 when making an impressive start to his career in a 1600m maiden supplying Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel and Champion Jockey, O’Shea with yet another winner in their prolific season.
O’Shea was sat in behind the leaders as the runners turned for home and his mount picked up nicely to hit the front 200m out and win going away from stable companion, Razeen.
O’Shea said: “He is a nice young horse and a full-brother to the very useful Nieshan but he is a nervous type so I was actually quite happy to be drawn in 14 as it meant I could keep him out of trouble.
“Hopefully he has learned a lot and that should help his confidence.”
The opening 1600m handicap was won by Xavier Ziani and Tahdeed (Haziz De Carrere (FR) x Verdure (FR) by Habdur (FR), fighting hard to deny AF Asefah that looked to have the race at her mercy when hitting the front early in the straight. However, she tired close to home and was headed by Xiani’s mount, trained by Helal Al Alawi, with 100m to run.
Xiani said: “He did that well in the end after it developed into more of a battle than I perhaps thought 400m out. The runner-up certainly passed us but my fellow really fought on gamely to lead again.”
Wayne Smith was in the saddle on ES Zeriyab (ZEFIRO DE NULVI (IT) x BENT AL ASAYL (AE) by Djebel) winner of a 1600m maiden for Saifaldin Deeb.
The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1400m handicap, provided the perfect opportunity for the Dhruba Selvaratnam-trained Sowalym to open his UAE account at the 14th attempt – doubling his career tally in the process.