Nieshan and Derbaas take top honours in Abu Dhabi

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Derbaas won the Thoroughbred National Day Cup prep and Nieshan landed the Purebred Arabian equivalent in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, where both races were over 1,600m.Trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Derbaas led home a 1-2-3 for his owner with Finjaan and last year’s winner Marching Time in behind.An hour earlier, class prevailed in the Purebred Arabian equivalent with Nieshan holding off the 2008 National Day Cup and 2009 Kahayla Classic winner Fryvolous. Gerald Avranche was able to secure a clear passage on the outside of his rivals to hit the front at the 200m pole.Trainer Jaber Bittar has enjoyed a productive weekend and followed up winners at Jebel Ali and Sharjah by saddling the first two here. He combined with James Doyle to land the opening 1,400m maiden with Sabbaq, who was making a winning debut and led right on the line.

Doyle said: “I did not really think we were going to get there, but he ran on gamely and will learn and improve for that experience.”Doyle was then denied close home on Farooq in the following 1,600m maiden with Pat Cosgrave driving stable companion Kerkouan past about 50m from the line.

Runner-up on his only previous start, the winner looks likely to improve over further, and Cosgrave said: “It was 1,600m when I was second on him last season and he has needed every yard this evening.”

Trainer Ernst Oertel then supplied the 1-2 in the 1,400m handicap in which Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea attempted to make all on Marjan Al Asayl, only to be denied close home by Daragh O’Donohoe on stable companion Al Mouttakel.

Oertel said: “We thought they both had chances and it is a great result for the yard.”

Jockey Sam Hitchott and trainer Saifaldin Deeb combined to open their respective seasonal accounts in a 1,400m fillies’ maiden won by Latifa Princess. – Sport 360°