18 December 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ The UAE racing comes under the Northern Hemisphere jurisdiction, which can be a disadvantage for locally bred horses.
As youngsters they have had to live through the long hot and humid summer season when exercise is difficult and generally they do not race until the season starts in November. Consequently the two prestige races for three year olds run on 16 December 2018, Colts and Fillies respectively, are restricted to UAE bred horses which are often un raced or very lightly raced as the races come only six weeks into the season.
This was certainly the case for this year’s winner of the Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic, AF Moutherah (AF Al Buraq x AF Kalrami by Ouragan Du Cayrou) despite a very wide draw, 15 or 16, she quickly put a large space between herself and the rest of the field. Not surprisingly she was tiring in the last 100m but the result was never in doubt. Her pedigree is particularly interesting as her dam, also a race winner, is out of Deema who was Saudi bred and came to the UAE from Qatar, making this filly is 75% Saudi bloodlines.
The Abu Dhabi Colt Classic was won by AF Saab for the same connections, he is second generation Al Awir breeding on both sides of his pedigree and has a connection to the filly through his sire AF Al Salam,a half brother to AF Al Buraq by Madoua De Piboul. Obviously these two very promising youngsters must be very closely watched for the rest of the season. For those that are interested the times, these 1400m races run on the turf where 1:36:50 for the fillies and 1:32:50 for the colts, the record is 1:27:63.
Abu Dhabi also puts on an open feature race for three year olds, The Abu Dhabi Championships over 1600m where RB Money To Burn, making her second racecourse appearance. again won convincingly from the Omani challenger, second place, Hakeemat Muscat (Akim De Ducor x Djourella by Kerbella). By Majd Al Arab (by Amer) out of RB Burn Bay Burn by Burning Sand, RB Money To Burn also has a Saudi connection. Third place went to Hadiya also by Majd Al Arab and out of Djoulkia by Akbar, owned and bred in France by the Royal Cavalry of Oman. So various connections all round.
The competition for most races won continues and at the top of the tables are HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Mr Khalid Al Nabooda, with the latter edging into the lead for the time being with 17 wins from 120 starts, whilst HH Sheikh Khalifa has 12 wins from 113 starts. These are followed by Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum with 5 wins from 62 starts.
Abu Dhabi currently has 105 registered owners with 489 horses to have started; of these 229 have won or placed in the first 5. It is and will continue a busy and competitive season.
~ Deirdre Hyde with Down the Straight reporting