: Trio score double in Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi: Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe and jockeys Royston Ffrench and Tadhg O’Shea registered a double each while Il Grande Maurizio added the President’s Cup Prep race to the National Day Cup he won last week here at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

Ffrench, on the Al Raihe-trained Il Grande Maurizio, won the National Day Cup (Listed) race over eight furlongs and this time over a distance of seven furlongs the trio once again proved superior.

Il Grand Maurizio hit the front with two furlongs remaining and stayed there, with Richard Hills on the highly-rated Mutheeb finishing second, three lengths behind.

Al Raihe and Ffrench had earlier won with Mestor to share the night’s honours with O’Shea.

O’Shea earlier made it 15 winners for the season by registering a double on Versac PY, the horse scoring his second win in eight days.

Equally at ease

The Erwan Charpy-trained Versac won over ten furlongs on the dirt in Sharjah on November 26 and proved equally at ease over 11 furlongs on the turf course here to give O’Shea his second win of the night.

“He is tough and he won well in Sharjah last week and we took a chance,” said the Irish jockey who now leads the jockeys’ championship.

“He is tough and is honest and that makes the job easy.”

In the Al Jazira Handicap for 00-65-rated Purebred Arabians, Al Reef Stables completed a one-two-three with Dr Jaber Bitar saddling the winner and the third-placed horse. Najem Al Khalij, who ran into form with a fine win over seven furlongs on the all-weather in Meydan nine days ago, repeated that feat despite carrying an extra 4.5kgs under O’Shea for his first of the night, while favourite Naseem Al Reef could only manage fourth place.

Mestor had earlier set the trend of the top weight winning when the Al Raihe-trained Oman raider did well to register his second successive victory here.

Second start

The three-year-old Mahabb colt under Ffrench lived up to his rating of 100 by outclassing the second-placed Shamal Al Asayl by over eight lengths.

The Eric Lemartinel-trained AF Maqam Alezz won on his second start of the season under Gerald Avranche in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup, a Dh40,000 race for private owners only.

AF Maqam Alezz’s win in the fourth race was the third successive one by a top weight horse at yesterday’s meeting.

Earlier in the evening’s opening race, trainer Anthony Manuel, who scored a triple in Sharjah, extended that winning run in Abu Dhabi when Yazan went from reserve horse to smart winner.

After Al Jazi W’rsan was a non-starter, Manuel’s Yazan started under Richard Mullen and the Jaib De Carrere three-year-old colt opened his account in his third start, winning by over six lengths.

“It has been a lucky course over the years but this year has been a bit frustrating,” said Mullen after opening his account for the season here in the capital.

“Hopefully I will get some more success as I like coming here every Sunday.”

RESULTS 1. Al Bahia Maiden, UAE-bred, Dh35,000, 8F:

1. Yazan (Anthony Manuel) Richard Mullen; 2. Jayashri (Ernst Oertel) Ted Durcan.

Time: 1:48.12; Distances: 6L, Nose

2. Abu Dhabi Championship Prep race, Conditions, Dh45,000, 8F:

1. Mestor (Ali Rashid Al Raihe) Royston Ffrench; 2. Shamal Al Asayl (Ernst Oertel) Patrick Cosgrave; 3. Um Dormane (Mohammad Al Ketbi) Tadhg O’Shea.

Time: 1:46.74; Distances: 8L, 2.75L

3. Al Jazeera Handicap (00-65), Dh65,000, 8F:

1. Najem Al Khalij (Dr Jaber Bittar) Tadhg O’Shea; 2. Mudallal Al Reef (Mohammad Al Ketbi) Royston Ffrench; 3. Kung Fu (Dr. Jaber Bittar) Mathew Henry.

Time: 1:45.96; Distances: 1:45.96

4. Wathba Stud Farm Cup, Handicap, (For Private Owners) 00-60, 5F:

1. AF Maqam Alezz (Eric Lemartinel) Gerald Avranche; 2. Meshwar (Hassan Saleh Al Hammadi) Wayne Smith; 3. RS Fancy Dancer (Saif Al Deen Deeb) Royston Ffrench.

Time: 1:04.04; Distances: 0.50L, 0.75L

5. Mussafah Handicap, 00-65, Dh 65,000, 11F:

1. Versac PY (Erwan Charpy) Tadhg O’Shea; 2. Estiqraar (Gillian Duffield) Richard Mullen; 3. AS Mushrif (Anthony Manuel) Wayne Smith.

Time: 2:32.20; Distances: 4L, Head

6. HH The President’s Cup Prep race, Thoroughbreds, Conditions, Dh 80,000, 7F:

1. Il Grande Maurizio (Ali Rashid Al Raihe) Royston Ffrench; 2. Mutheeb (Musabah Al Muhairi) Richard Hills; 3. Landowner (Abdullah Bin Huzaim) Ahmad Ajtebi.