February 5, 2012, Abu Dhabi~The HH The President Of The UAE Cup, Abu Dhabi’s most prestigious and valuable Purebred Arabian race of the season, was won in a driving finish by Nieshan, who denied 2011 winner Seraphin Du Paon after a titanic duel over the last 200m.
The six-year-old was having his fifth start of the season and, having been defeated on three occasions over 1600m, he returned to winning ways in a 2200m conditions race four weeks ago.That win clearly did his confidence the power of good and he responded gallantly to jockey Gerald Avranche’s urgings in this 2200m race.
The winning jockey said: “He is obviously a horse with a lot of class but was finding 1600m too short in his first races. He ran very well in all these big races last season and bounced back to winning ways last time in a lesser contest. This was his main early season target and a great prize to win. I am sure he will now be aimed at Meydan and [Dubai] World Cup night.”
Seraphin Du Paon’s connections were denied in the big race but his trainer and jockey, Ernst Oertel and Mirco Demuro, did win the opening 1400m maiden with debutant Manisha (Darike x Al Misk by Vadeer).
Demuro then completed a rapid double when partnering the Hassan Saleh Al Hammadi-owned and trained Meshwar (Nez D’Or x Mascotte De Piboul)to victory in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup 1600m handicap.
Demuro said: “That is the perfect start to a very important evening.”
The main support race was the Group 3 Al Ruwais over the minimum trip of 1000m and it was won in style by Thakif with Harry Bentley in the saddle for trainer Majed Al Jahouri.
The impressive winner of a 1600m maiden on his penultimate start, the four-year-old coped admirably with the drop in trip to the delight of his young jockey who said: “He impressed me when we won that maiden and I thought he would go well this evening but he has probably surprised me winning that well.”
Richard Hills was in the saddle on Najem Al Khalij (Bibi De Carrere x Rhapsody in Blue by Tidjani) who won the 1600m Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup for Jaber Bittar and Al Reef Stables with the six-year-old registering his third win from five starts this season.
Erwan Charpy trains the progressive Versac PY who registered his third win of the campaign in the 2200m handicap with Tadhg O’Shea always looking confident on the five-year-old.
The jockey said: “He is a nice young horse and it would be nice to think he has more improvement to come over this kind of trip as the 1600m has caught him out the last twice.”
The only Thoroughbred race on the card was the concluding 1600m handicap and Laa Rayb opened his local account at the eighth attempt for trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam with William Buick in the saddle.
Selvaratnam said: “He was probably unlucky at Meydan last time and it is great to see him get his head back in front.