The Qatar-bred Al Muntakhab scored in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners race on Sunday, December 13 at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club racecourse.
Al Muntakhab did not always appear the most straightforward of characters but ran out the winner under apprentice George Buckell in the 11-furlong contest.
It was only the second UAE and twelve lifetime start for the lightly raced Helal Al Alawi-trained eight-year-old.
“This horse has not long arrived from Qatar,” said Buckell. “The handlers did a great job with him at the start as he was not the easiest but during the race he was fine.
Meanwhile it turned into a red letter meeting for freshman Al Ajban Stables-trainer Abdulla Al Hammadi who led in three of the five Purebred Arabian winners.
He opened his winning account when the first race on the card a 1600m maiden went the way of the Saklawi Al Reef, ridden by Richard Mullen.
An hour later Al Ajban and Al Hammadi visited the Winner’s Circle again after Nawarat Al Reef came from well back on the home turn taking out the 1600m conditions event restricted to fillies and mares.
Al Hammadi also saddled the runner-up, Bouthayna Al Reef who, under Dane O’Neill, looked all over the winner until winning rider Fernando Jara unleashed the decisive challenge of her stable companion.
Jesus Rosales, a regular rider for Al Ajban, delivered the third leg of the treble guiding Jamila Al Reef to an easy win in the concluding 2200m conditions race.
Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) along with Adnan Sultan of ADEC and Sheikh Hamdan bin Suroor Al Sharqi of Invest AD among others gave away the trophies.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels, Racing Post, Paris Turf and Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics.