January 25, 2014, Abu Dhabi ~ Abu Dhabi’s Sunday card featured the prep races for HH The President Cups for Purebred Arabian and Thoroughbreds and despite losing an iron on the home turn, Silvestre De Sousa was able to conjure a winning run out of local debutant, Raaziq, in the 2200m Purebred Arabian version.
Trained by Majed Al Jahouri for his main employer, HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it was an impressive start to his UAE career by Raaziq (Munjiz (FR) x SHEENA (FR) by Djelfor (FR).
With about 1000m to go, it was noticeable that De Sousa was creeping closer on his mount and, on the bend, he asked him to chase the leaders – a manoeuvre that resulted in the jockey losing his left iron.
“When I asked him to quicken he did, but I lost my iron and was not going to risk losing that momentum we had. He picked up well and won nicely. He is very decent,” said De Sousa.
Dane O’Neill rode Nawwaar to win the 1600m HH The President Cup Prep Thoroughbred race authoritatively in the blue silks of the leading international horse breeder and owner Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
There was a sense of déjà vu after the 1600m handicap, won by Sheikh Down (Calin Du Loup (FR) x Burning Firestar (US) by BIG EASY (US), winner of an identical race seven days previously. Trained by Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel, he was again ridden by Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea and the pair led about 100m out, running on strongly to win reasonably comfortably.
O’Shea said: “We had the worst draw in 16 so I had to take my time. He hits a bit of a flat spot midrace but runs on strongly when it matters – as he has done there. He stays further so a stamina test at this trip suits him and he has won three this season now, having also won at Sharjah.”
Najem S’Heel made Tadiq O’Shea’s 11th winner of the season in the 1200m PA Handicap Wathba Stud Farm Cup For Private Owners Only. The six-year-old son of former champion Big Easy out of Lazia Lotoise is trained by Saifaldin Deep on behalf of its owner Faisal Sameer Al Mahmoud.
“He was narrowly beaten last time out because of the wide draw, but this time he was well drawn and launched his campaign from stall nine to win easily. He’s a speedy horse and there’s more to come from him,” Deep said.
“Najem S’Heel has won this race before over 1000 metres early in the season, and it’s something great to see him winning again over the extended distance.
Adnan Sultan, director of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) alongside the sponsors presented the prizes and trophies to the winners of the Wathba Stud Farm Cup.
The opening race, Wrapping UP PA Maiden was won by Tahya Al Reef (Bibi De Carrere (FR) x ULTRA CARRERE (IT) by Rubis De Carrere) under Jose Santiago for trainer Jaber Bittar in the distinguished colours of the Al Reef Stables.
Wadi Al Sail (Kador De Blaziet (FR) x Lacy-Jay (US) by Burning Sand (US), ridden by William Twiston-Davies, brought in his first win of the season for trainer Omer Daraj Mohammed in the 1200m Sadeem PA Handicap opening race on the card.
Photos by Morhaf