Gulf News: Muqatil, Alassio take Dutch Derby honours

Racecourse near The Hague comes alive on Sunday hours before world cup gloom By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter Published: 00:01 July 13, 2010
Amsterdam: Hours before the gloom of losing the World Cup final, a few thousand racing fans basked in some warm temperatures as Muqatil Al Khalidiah and Alassio won their respective races on the prestigious Dutch Derby day meeting.

The Duindigt racecourse in Waasenaar near The Hague came alive on Sunday afternoon as first Muqatil Al Khalidiah came up with a ‘disciplined’ run to win the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Flat Racing Festival’s Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup while an hour later Alassio became the 82nd winner of the Dutch Derby for thoroughbreds.

Trainer Jean-Francois Bernard, who won this race last year with Simmbad, was delighted as David Badel ensured Muqatil Al Khalidiah gave the Saudi Arabia-based Al Khalidiah Stables yet another win in Europe.

Muqatil Al Khalidiah finished ahead of favourite Al Anqa from the Qatar-based trainer Alban de Mieulle’s yard under David Bouland with the Jean-Pierre Totain-trained Baddad, owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, running into third place.

Bonus fund

“We were up against some strong runners and Muqatil Al Khalidiah has always given me some problems. However today he was at his best and I hope he can keep this kind of temperament as he is a good horse,” said Bernard.

Sunday’s race in Holland was the second in the three-race series which offers a bonus fund of 20,000 euros (Dh92,784), the first being held in Toulouse and the next in Poland. The win gave Muqatil Al Khalidiah and the Toulouse race winner Scoubidou de Carrere five points each but Bernard may not take his horse to Poland.

“I will have to see how he recovers and the distance in Poland is a bit too much for Muqatil,” he said.

Baddad, fifth in the first race and third here has four points and is the only horse to have run in the first two races of the three-race series.

Sunday’s race at the Duindigt race course which also saw Alassio win the Dutch Derby under jockey Jan Palik, ahead of Little Star and My Dream.

Ali Thani Al Suwaidi, UAE Ambassador to The Netherlands, Gilles Bescmoor Plug, Dutch Ambassador to the UAE, Lara Sawaya, Director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing series, Adnan Sultan, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Stephen Bowey, Senior Advisor at Invest AD and W.J de Ruiter, President of Dutch Arabian Racing Corporation participated in the prize distribution ceremony.

Sunday’s race was organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and coordinated by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Flat Racing Festival’s Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup races are supported by Invest AD, Bonyan International Investment Group (Holding), Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2010 and the Al Wathba Stud Farm.