A conditions contest over 1800m, Ffrench’s mount was slowly away and soon trailing his seven rivals prompting his jockey to get busy in the saddle almost immediately.
Making his dirt debut on just his sixth career outing, Sniper De Monlau did not appear happy until he was switched wide by Ffrench at the halfway mark.
Taking the home turn on the outside of the field, the Sniper De Monlau finally knuckled down in the straight, hitting the front 200m from home and staying on powerfully to deny Faucon Du Loup who had led from the top of the straight under Richard Mullen.
“The trainer and his team have done a magnificent job with this horse which is very talented but can be quirky,” said Ffrench.
“He won two of his five races last season and should probably have won at least two more but kept drifting right across the track at Abu Dhabi.
“He is a very good, young horse who, hopefully, can build on this and it is great to win such a valuable prize,” Ffrench said.
HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs supplied both the first and second in a 2000m handicap with local apprentice, Saeed Al Mazroei, aboard the winner, Ajjaj, trained by Majed Al Jahouri.
They ran on far too strongly for Harry Bentley and the Ahmed Al Mehairbi-trained Munaaf.
Winning in style, Ajjaj was doubling his career win tally on his 19th start. “He won what appeared a competitive race in good style,” said Al Mazrooei.
“This trip really seems to suit him and he was running on strongly at the end.”
The Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners opened Saturday’s race meeting and the 2000-metres race for maidens was won emphatically by Babel D’Aillas, trained on the Al Ain track by Mohammed Ramadan.
Having his 15th career start and eighth outing on dirt, he was always travelling well under O’Shea who eased him into contention behind leaders Cristal
Des Vialettes and Akbar Du Berlais.
They had no answer when O’Shea took his mount to the front, traveling strongly, halfway up the straight before powering clear in the final 200m.
“He has done that nicely enough,” said O’Shea. “It is always nice to ride a winner for Mohammed Ramadan who is such an enthusiastic trainer.”
Ms. Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the Int’l 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 other sponsors’ representatives and guests gave away the trophies to the winning connects of the Festival’s two races.
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, IPIC as Strategic Partner, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Al Aweer Stables, Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, 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 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.