26 January 2020, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Racing on the Abu Dhabi turf Sunday, 26 January 2020, was highlighted by the 1200m Group 3 Shadwell Stud Al Ruwais Stakes for which a dozen Purebred Arabian sprinters went to post. RB Lam Tara ran the race alone at the end, posting a smooth success representing the same connections as last year’s winner, RB Money To Burn.
The five-year-old was ridden by Fabrice Veron, completing a double for himself and trainer Eric Lemartinel. Owned by Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan Al Nahyan, she was settled just behind the leaders before closing on them, seemingly effortlessly on the home turn. Once Veron asked, she shot clear passing the 300m pole and was never in any danger of being caught with AF Alwajel running on late to deny Rawaa second place.
RB Lam Tara (General) is now the winner of half of her eight career starts, having only raced on turf here in the capital, with three 1600m victories to her name. This was her first outing over a trip shorter than that 1600m.
“She is very good and very quick,” said Veron, the only jockey to have ridden her in a race. “I was always happy throughout the race; she traveled strongly and then quickened very smartly to win a good race in style. It was a very good performance. We were confident she had the speed for this shorter trip and that has certainly proved to be the case.”
Earlier, Veron could not have timed his challenge any better in the opening 2200m maiden, producing Arjan (Seraphin Du Paon) to lead right on the line for His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Lemartinel and the team at Al Asayl. Initially settled in the middle of the 14 runners, Veron asked his mount to close on the home turn before staying on very strongly in the final 300m, snatching a dramatic victory from RB Dixie Honor, leader throughout the majority of the straight under Al Moatasem Al Balushi.
A homebred 5-year-old mare, Arjan was having her fifth career start, but just second on turf, previously registering two second places, including on her sole previous Abu Dhabi effort, just a week ago, over 1600m.
“We were confident the longer trip would suit,“ Veron said. “She stayed on well last week when second over 1600m and when she tried 1800m at Al Ain in December she was closing strongly at the end, so the 2200m was certainly in her favour.”
A 1400m maiden restricted to 4-year-old colts and geldings foaled locally was won by JAP Nazaa (AF AL Buraq) under Royston Ffrench riding in the famous predominantly green silks of Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum for trainer Irfan Ellahi.
Having raced just behind the leaders in fourth or fifth and hugging the inside rail, the homebred grey colt had to pull out to challenge Taajer, seeking to give Al Asayl a quick double. Hitting the front 200m out, he withstood late challenges from both Al Ajeeb W’Rsan and Kesra.Making just his third start, having debuted on the dirt at Sharjah in November before finishing a never dangerous eighth in the Abu Dhabi Colts Classic, over this same 1400m on the turf in the capital, he is seemingly improving.
Ffrench said: “I have to thank Irfan for putting me on the right one because he had two in the race. He and his team do a great job with these horses and this fellow is only going to get better as he gains more experience.”
Afforded Prestige status the main support race and restricted to horses foaled in the UAE, was the 1600m Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Gold Cup, contested this year as the Shadwell Gold Cup. The Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s breeding empire was sponsor of five of the six races including the aforementioned feature and was won in determined fashion by AF Sanad (AF Al Buraq).
Rousted to lead by Bernard Pinheiro shortly after the stalls opened, the 7-year-old remained in the lead, fending off the challenge of the sponsor’s AF Mahshoum early in the short straight and holding off the challenge of AF Yathroq.
Owned and trained by Khalifa Al Neyadi, this was a fifth success for the horse, third on turf and second at 1600m. having shed his maiden tag over the trip on the dirt at Al Ain when running in the colours of his breeder, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda who was among the first to congratulate Al Neyadi.
Pinheiro said: “We had a bit to find on official ratings, but I wanted to be positive on him, knowing he would find plenty under conditions we know suit him. Luckily everything worked out perfectly and this is a big result for all of us concerned with the horse.”
Jawal Al Reef (Bibi De Carrere) landed a 1600m handicap for horses in private ownership, driven to lead just inside the final 200m by Pat Cosgrave with the pair clinging on grimly from fast finishing duo AF Ashras and Dagui Lotois.
Content to bide his time in midfield, behind what looked a very generous early gallop, Cosgrave eased his mount, a 7-year-old entire, into contention at the top of the straight before challenging between runners. Trained by Hassan Al Hammadi for Ahmed Ebrahim bin Aamer Al Shemeli, it was career win number three for the horse enjoying a productive season having won his penultimate start, over 1400m, with second and third placings on his other outings this campaign, all here at Abu Dhabi.
Cosgrave said: “In fairness the trainer was pretty confident and I was able to switch him to challenge when I wanted and, luckily the gaps appeared when I needed them. It was getting a bit close as the line approached, but we had the job done.”
The only Thoroughbred race on the card, the concluding 1600m maiden, provided Dubai Canal the perfect vessel to open his account, leading inside the final 200m to score quite impressively under Harry Bentley, riding for Satish Seemar in the predominantly blue colours of Ailan Hamad Kadfoor Al Mehairi. A 4-year-odl Nayef colt, he was having just his third career start, second this season, having been well beaten over 1400m on turf at Meydan last April before finishing fourth, at the end of November, over 1600m at Jebel Ali.