13 March 2015, Al Ain, UAE ~ There was something of a surprise in the featured 1600m conditions race at Al Ain Racecourse’s penultimate meeting of the campaign on Friday with Manade Athbah (KHOUTOUBIA (FR) x Manade (FR) by Dormane (FR) denying Namrood, considered by most as the most likely winner of the three runner contest.
Everything appeared to be going to plan at halfway with Tadhg O’Shea and the Salem Al Ketbi-trained Narood seemingly cantering over both his rivals. They went to the front fully 600m out, with the race seemingly won but Wayne Smith was rousting Manade Athbah with a brave response.
Smith’s mount hit the front 200m from home and was always holding Namrood who tried to produce an effort but to no affect.
“We went a decent gallop, said Smith. “I was always in a good position and knew my mare quickened nicely. She is a mare we really like and she disappointed us at Meydan the first time before running better the last day. She will probably come back next week for the Al Ain Mile.”
Al Ketbi and O’Shea may have been out of luck in the feature but combined to land the opening 2000m maiden with O’Shea driving RB Rich Surprise (TH Richie (US) x Lore (US) by Wiking (PL) to a comfortable victory over old rival Ajjaj. The pair had finished second and third in a similar race over 1600m only last week and O’Shea’s mount was able to confirm superiority, relishing the extra 400m.
Ajjaj tried to make all under Silvestre De Sousa, but RB Rich Surprise made smooth progress to track him 700m out before O’Shea asked for the winning effort at the 200m pole.
This was only his fifth career start and second on dirt, said O’Shea. “He showed last week the surface was not a problem and he stayed on well. Hopefully he can progress.”
Connections doubled up with Afaal (EL MANSOUR DE BROU (FR) x Nevada Du Loup (FR) by Manganate (FR), forced to work very hard to get her head in front in a 1600m handicap. It was hard work but the mare showed a great attitude to gain the spoils.
“She has shown great resolve,” said O’Shea. “I was hopeful beforehand but it was hard work in the end.”
Debutante RB Rich Abratude (TH Richie (US) x Abra Caadabra (US) by Burning Sand (US) then made a successful start to her career, registering a narrow victory in a 1400m and completing a treble for Al Ketbi, his main patron HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and O’Shea.
Exhibiting her greenness in the first half of the race, the filly responded well in the second half, chasing the leaders 400m out and leading inside the final 200m.
“She will have learned a lot from this,” said O’Shea. “She is a filly we like and hopefully will be a useful type next season.”
The finale, a 1400m handicap, was won by Maghazi (CHNDAKA (FR) x Nirva De Cardonne (FR) by Samsun (US), ridden by apprentice George Buckell and a first UAE winner for trainer Beverley Deutrom, saddling her 60th runner locally.