29 July 2018, Newbury, UK ~ French superstar jockey Olivier Peslier took the Dubai International Arabian Races at Newbury on Sunday, 29th July by storm with a fabulous 115-1 four-timer, including the three Group 1 PA prizes.
The 45-year-old veteran lit up a grey and rainy day at the Berkshire track with a riding masterclass on Nafees, Joudh and Al Chammy in the top-flight contests to add to an earlier victory awarded in the stewards’ room on Tahirwah.
Peslier capped his four-timer as Nafees (6-4 favourite) cut down Al Mouwaffak to capture the Shadwell Dubai International Stakes (Group 1 PA) by a length and a half and complete a treble for the owners Royal Cavalry Of Oman.
It may have been a wet afternoon, but Peslier was smiling in the rain as he thrilled a crowd of almost 6,000. “It is a lovely day,” he said. “It is raining a little bit, but there are a lot of people here and everyone is enjoying it.”
Charles Gourdain from Pau said: “He was very fresh before the race because we have had a lot of hot weather in France and with the travel and everything I thought he may not have had enough work, but he is a very brave horse and he was well ridden by Olivier Peslier and finished strongly.”
Brigadier-General Abdulrazak Al Shahwarzi, of the Royal Cavalry Of Oman, added: “It is a very good race to win and with it being a Group 1 PA, and also to have a treble here.”
Peslier had produced French raider Joudh (11-4 joint favorite) to take the preceding Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes (Group 1 PA) over 1m 2f by half a length from Sharesa.
The four-year-old Mahabb filly, trained by Didier Guillemin at Mont-de-Marsan in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, earned glowing praise from her rider.
“I think her mentality and the ground helps, and makes her relax a lot,” he said. “I stayed behind the other horses and she showed a good turn of foot and came home well. She is a lovely filly.”
Thierry Delegue, racing manager to owners Yas Horse Racing Management, commented: “She was a very good three-year-old and won a Group 1 PA. During the winter it was difficult for her to recover and she has finished fourth, third, second and now first, so we are very happy.
“She won a Group 1 PA in France and now she will go to the Saturday of the Arc De Triomphe meeting for the Group 1 PA for fillies and try and do the same and after that perhaps to Abu Dhabi. It was difficult for her because she was going from a mile to a mile and a quarter, and with the going softer than it was this morning. It is always very important for us to win a Group 1 PA that Shadwell backs because they are a very good sponsor.”
Peslier had kicked off his Group 1 trio by driving Al Chammy (7-4 favorite) by Nizam home by three-quarters of a length in the Jebel Ali Racecourse Za’abeel International Stakes (Group 1 PA) over 6f in the colors of the Royal Cavalry of Oman to complete a double for trainer Said Al Badi.
The Omani handler, who is based at Wargrave, near Henley on Thames in the summer, said: “Last time out he ran on hard ground, but today it is a little bit softer. He doesn’t show real speed at home, but at the races he is different. We will take him back home and he will go to the UAE to run in Dubai.”
Peslier and Al Badi had teamed up to take the DIAR International Stakes (Group 3 PA) with Tahirwah (Amer), awarded the 7f contest for three-year-olds in the stewards’ room after being beaten a nose by Italian raider Zoe Di Gallura.
The Frenchman was poised to send the Royal Cavalry Of Oman-trained colt through a gap up the rails only for Carlo Fiocchi on Zoe Di Gallura to shut the door, forcing Peslier to snatch up. Despite being stopped in his tracks, Tahirwah rallied to such effect after being switched that he was only beaten a nose and it seemed inevitable that the result would be reversed.
Peslier said: “I had plenty of space to come. The other horse was hanging on the ground and has bumped me into the rail twice and stopped me. I then picked him up and he came back. There was a stewards’ enquiry and when they saw the film they saw that.”
Brigadier-General Al Shahwarzi added: “I want to say hard luck to the Italians. This horse has Royal Cavalry Of Oman breeding, so that makes me very proud and gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
Zoe Di Gallura’s connections took the stewards’ decision on the chin. Cristiana Brivio, wife and assistant to trainer Endo Botti, said: “He has run really well. The good thing is that we know he compares with the international horses.”
French trainer Damien De Watrigant believes No And No Al Maury is capable of challenging for top honors after the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum-owned colt stormed to an impressive ten-length triumph in the UAE Embassy in London International Stakes. The four-year-old swept past runner-up Emiraaty in the hands of Francois Xavier Bertras at the two-furlong pole to turn the 1m 2f contest into a procession.
De Watrigant, who is based at Artassenx in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, said: “He has improved a lot and loves the distance and Francois Xavier Bertras gave him a very good ride. I think you will see him in the future at a really high level, but we will give him an easy target at the moment.
“I am very happy that Sheikh Hamdan trusts him with me. He bought him after he finished second first time out and now the horse is showing him what he is showing me in the morning. “I will take him back and give him time between the races. He will maybe go for the Breeders’ Cup over 2,200m. He has shown he can handle good to soft.”
No And No Al Maury was the middle leg of a treble for Sheikh Hamdan with Newmarket trainer Phil Collington landing a double for his principal patron with Taaqdeerat and Saleemah.
Collington saddled a 1-2-3 for the owner in the Rotana Hotels and Resorts Premier Handicap Stakes over 1m 4f with Saleemah digging deep for Sam Hitchcott to deny Halib Des Forges by a short head, with Munawwar three and three-quarters of a length back in third.
The trainer said: “Halib Des Forges was my first string, but the ground has probably gone against him. I said earlier that lightweights would do well and she is an improving stayer and loves soft ground. I think if I had declared her last year she would have won.”
Hitchcott added: “She is very, very tough, but the guys told me to be fair she would be delighted to have the rain we have had.”
Collington landed the opening Emirates Premier Handicap Stakes for a third successive year when Taaqdeerat sprang a 20-1 surprise to lead home a 1-2-3-4 for Sheikh Hamdan.
Collington, successful in the mile contest with Jamaayil in 2016 and Cheik Roque last year, fielded five of the 12 runners in his bid to complete a hat-trick.
And it was the least fancied of the quintet, who claimed the honors as Taaqdeerat knuckled down under Harry Bentley to collar the James Owen-trained Rafeef by a neck, with Anfaas four lengths back in third and Al Kaaser fourth.
Collington said: “It seems a lucky race for me – that is three in a row. “It was very tight close home and Harry gave her a lovely ride. She has had quite a few problems with her knees and has not been the easiest to train. She loved a bit of cut in the ground.”
Bentley added: “She has broken her maiden today and it’s a nice day to do it. They went hard early on and that has suited her coming off the pace. It’s on the soft side and that has probably helped her.”
Jockey David Turner landed the closing Emirates NBD Handicap Stakes over 7f for the second year running with Mersal giving him top honors this time. The five-year-old, trained by Beverley Deutrom at Nutley, near Lingfield, held off Paramer Angel by three-quarters of a length.
Turner said: “It is always quite hard to come back after last year’s winner and this season has been a bit of a slog, but it’s good to win another one and thanks to Bev. I thought they would go quicker, but they rode quite sensibly. I didn’t want to get involved too early. I got a tow off one and then got on to the next one.”
Deutrom added: “He’s a nice horse. He changed ownership, so he didn’t run last year at all. He will get further and I am just stepping him up the grades. I don’t want to over face him.
“Dubai day is the best day for the English racing, so I’m very happy with that. The soft ground was my concern, but he has nice big feet so there was no reason why it should not have suited him.”
Text by By Russell Smith