1 March 2015, Abu Dhabi ~ Sunday’s Abu Dhabi race meeting had as a highlight, the 1400m Group 1 Liwa Oasis and, for the third consecutive year Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and trainer Majed Al Jahouri supplied the first and second. Sha’Red (Bibi de Carrere x Rudina by Burning Sand) improved his UAE record with two wins in a row (1 Feb), denying last year’s winner Areem. Formerly trained by Yousef Al Bloushi, the winner gave an excellent first start for Al Jahouri. Areem had broken the track record when winning this race last year. This edition Ahmed Ajtebi pushed Areem to the front to repeat the win of 2014 when ridden by Silvestre De Sousa. The tactic looked likely to pay off at halfway but Ajtebi’s mount started to tire in the straight and had no answer to Sha’Red making a steady and easy looking lap towards home under De Sousa to win going away. Girl Powerr and TM Super Bird were third and fourth in that order.
“Sha’Red has now won his last two starts and has been running consistently well since arriving in the UAE last season,” said Al Jahouri. “This was a very good performance because we all know Areem is a very useful performer. Sha’Red will be put away now and we will aim at next season’s National Day Cup.”
The Al Jahouri team were celebrating a course and distance double having landed the opening maiden with the French-bred, Da’Areen (Bibi De Carrere x Fazzaha), a four-year-old filly that was losing her maiden tag at the 13th attempt but whose two previous outings had been in Group 3 company. De Sousa made a confident attack, tracking stable companion Sayya’Ad ridden by apprentice Saeed Al Mazrouei, before sweeping past him at the top of the straight and setting sail for home. They never looked likely to be caught and held off the late challenge of Tadhg O’Shea on RB Burning Ash, settling in for second as Wazn made third.
“She is a nice filly,” said De Sousa. “I was always going well and was pretty confident once I hit the front we would not be caught. This should do her confidence the power of good.”
The main support race, the 2400m Group 3 conclusion of the Arabian Triple Crown, was won comfortably by Namrood (Akbar x Al Fajer by Dormane) trained by Salem Al Ketbi and ridden by Tadhg O’Shea. Their task was made a lot easier when stable companion Shaheer, winner of last week’s Group 3 middle round over 2200m, was declared a non-runner. Only four went to post and O’Shea was happy to take a lead from Royston Ffrench on ES Kram before easing his mount to the front fully loaded 1600m out.
“He is a very good horse,” said O’Shea. “He only made his local debut last week and came out of that very well. This was a nice confidence booster for him and hopefully there is a lot more to come from him. “These small field races can be very tactical so I was happy to be positive as I knew he would be hard to catch.”
In the 2015 Triple Crown, the winning all went to the silks of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as they were Abhaar, then Shaheer before Namrood.
In the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners, Avranche completed a double on the remarkable Ain Jaloot (Amer x Shoagh by Dormane), recording the fifth consecutive win in the 1000m handicap for Eric Lemartinel, three of which have been over this course and distance.
Stable companion AF Asefah was a length back in second under Tadhg O’Shea and behind them finished Aim Hi under Silvestre De Sousa. The winner covered the 1000-metre distance in 1.00.53 seconds.
“What is left to say about this horse?” Avranche replied: “He has been a revelation and very well placed by the trainer.”
Trainer Eric Lemartinel commented: “He was narrowly beaten in his earlier four starts before we came to discover that the five to seven furlongs are his best trips and fortunately he appreciated the drop in distance and has never been beaten since.”
“It’s a great pleasure for us to be associated with this race,” said the winning owner and breeder Abdul Basit Al Yaqoub. after receiving yet another special bonus of Dh10.000 in prize-money which is provided by the Festival for the winning breeder of every individual round of the Wathba Stud Farm Cup For Private Owners Only.
The Jaber Bittar-trained Monawer (Bibi de Carrere x Menissour), without a win since landing the Emirates Colts’ Classic in February 2013, remedied that statistic with victory in a conditions race over the same 1600m course and distance as his big win over two years ago. Ridden by Jesus Rosales, he was never far off the pace before shooting clear with 300m remaining. The race was effectively over at this point and Monawer ran on strongly to record a fourth career success. “He deserved that,” said Rosales. “He has run some good races in defeat this season and did that well today.”
The finale, a 1200m handicap, was won by UBU Al Mels (Dormane x Lhora Al Mels by Way to Go), ridden by Royston Ffrench for Mohd Ramadan.
The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2200m handicap, was won by Prince Suhail, doubling his career tally and opening his UAE account at the third attempt.