Al Ketbi and O'Shea Land Featured Handicap
18 January 2015, Abu Dhabi ~ Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea and Al Asayl trainer Salem Al Ketbi enjoyed an Abu Dhabi double on Sunday evening, highlighted by the victory of Molahen El Ahlan (AL NASR (FR) x FLORINE DE CARRERE (FR) by Djourman) in the featured 1600m handicap.
O’Shea sent his mount straight to the front and the pair skipped clear early in the straight. Understandably, O’Shea’s mount tired close to home but always looked likely to hold on. He has now won seven of his twelve career starts and was registering a third course and distance victory this season.
“He’s a very popular horse in the yard and really loves it here on the Abu Dhabi turf, “ said O’Shea. We have tried him at Al Ain and Sharjah but it is here in the capital he really shows his best. This is his stamping ground and 1400m or this 1600m are his best trips as he just likes to get out in front. He is very straightforward and has plenty of ability.
Al Ketbi and O’Shea had wasted little time getting off the mark for the evening with Nashmee (Akbar (FR) x Jade Des Pins (FR) by Octavius) when landing the opening 2200m conditions race. The five-year-old has now won half of his four career starts, despite flashing his tail violently once hitting the front 200m from home.
Held up well off the pace, O’Shea’s mount made smooth progress as the runners turned for home before sweeping to the front. He then, however, seemed to think he had done enough and O’Shea was forced to get serious.
“I travelled around really nicely,” said O’Shea. “They went pretty quick so the field was well strung out and I was able to weave my way through. It was only his fourth start so you can forgive the tail swishing. He has always worked like a nice horse and it is always rewarding when they produce it on the track.”
It appeared the same connections were going to celebrate a rapid double in the following 2200m conditions race when O’Shea made the break well on Al Yawazi. However, Marc Monaghan aboard Silk Stockings (LINE DANCER (US) x Seraph Wings (US) by Wiking) made his move 200 meters out driving to the front. Trainer Jaci Wickham was delighted with the filly’s first win in Abu Dhabi.
“She is a filly I know Jaci has always liked,” said Monaghan. “This was her first win but I was always happy and she picked up nicely in the straight.”
O’Shea ultimately completed his treble, producing Girl Powerr (Calin Du Loup x Dixies Chick (US) by Burning Sand (US) to lead in the dying strides in a 1000m handicap. Owned and trained by Saeed Hadher Al Mazrouei, it was a third win of the season for the six-year-old mare.
“It was only close home I thought we would get there,” admitted O’Shea. “It has been a great evening!”
Qatar’s Champion Jockey, Harry Bentley, registered a narrow success aboard AS Fayz (NIZAM (GB) x AS MYSALOON (AE) by Bibi De Carrere) for trainer Ahmed Almehairbi in an exciting 1600m handicap.
The pair were not ahead for long but only just held on from fast finishing duo Barek W’Rsan (2nd) and Shahryar.
“He won here at Abu Dhabi on his penultimate start before disappointing last time in Sharjah. He was much happier back on the turf here and travelled far better throughout the race. He was game near the line as the others were certainly closing fast.”
The meeting concluded with the only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1400m handicap and a first UAE victory, at the tenth attempt for the Ahmad bin Harmash-trained Grilletto under stable jockey Adrie De Vries.