21 November 2014 ~ Al Ain, UAE ~ Ghalib won the featured 1600m Conditions race at Al Ain Racecourse’s second meeting of the season on Friday afternoon, 20 November under a power packed finish from Royston Ffrench.
One of the first off the bit, the Majed Al Jahouri-trained runner took a long while to get going but Ffrench was able to get a sustained finish out of him, the pair leading close home to deny Haajeb with the win at 01:54:36.
“He won a similar race here last season on the previous all-weather surface and that was over 1800m so stamina was always going to be his forte here,” said Ffrench, “He was outpaced early on but has run strongly all the way to the line. This is always a great yard to ride for.”
Both first and second are owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the runner-up trained by Yousif Al Bloushi.
Molahen El Alhan, winner 9 November in Abu Dhabi was third three lengths back, with Quite a Show in fourth. Even though Bigg N Rich finished fifth, followed by Wycked then Theoretically.
Silvestre De Sousa, the new stable jockey to Musabah Al Muhairi, rode a winner for his new boss, landing the only Thoroughbred race, a 1400m handicap on Maltese Cat.
The meeting concluded with a competitive 1000m sprint handicap with De Sousa completing a double aboard Ubu Al Mels, saddled by Mohd Ramadan.
Trainer Helal Al Alawi also saddled a 1-2 with Alizee Du Bibal (Dormane x Patchouli Du Bibal (FR) by Kerbella), under George Buckell, denying Tadhg O’Shea and stable companion, Mazaha, in a photo finish to the 1400m maiden for fillies and mares.
Buckell’s mount had a nose to spare on the line, having led early in the straight only to be challenged in the dying strides by the runner-up.
Buckell said: “He hung on grimly and responded well when I had to ask him for a final effort near the line.”
Having enjoyed a Meydan Racecourse treble on Thursday evening, Richard Mullen wasted no time adding to his seasonal tally, landing the opening 1600m handicap on Sabbaq (Bibi De Carrere (FR) x AF YASATER (AE) by Amer).
Trained by Jaber Bittar, Mullen’s mount was not the fastest into stride and was taken wide by his jockey very early. Widest of all, and under pressure, turning for home, Sabbaq produced a steady run down the long straight. The pair hit the front close home to deny Tadhg O’Shea on AL Yawazi.
Mullen said: “The Bittar yard are in good form and they seemed pretty hopeful.”
Xavier Xiani was aboard MH Lazzaz (GERBYA (FR) – SHEEMAH (AE) by Ouragan Du Cayrou) for trainer Elise Jeanne when the pair landed the penultimate race, a 1400m handicap. The winner was losing his maiden tag at the 22nd attempt.
Jeanne said: “We are only a small yard so we are pleased with our two winners so far this season. We were hoping for a good run as he has pleased in both his previous starts this year.”