It was the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud farm Cup for Private Owners which kick-started the action at the Al Ain race course on Friday, February 26 in the meeting which also played host to the city’s inaugural Derby for four-year-old Purebred Arabians.
The National Stables-based trainer Helal Al Alawi, who is enjoying his best season to date saddled his 16th winner of the campaign, his third with a license, with the victory of Naiem in Dh 80,000 contest seven furlongs (1400 metres) in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup.
Naiem, a 5-year-old UAE-bred owned by Ali Abdul Aziz Al Owais, scored his first win in eight races when apprentice Hector Crouch steered him to a one-length win over another Al Alawi runner Sand Champ ridden by Mark Monagan.
It was a ninth winner of the campaign for Crouch who has impressed many in his debut UAE season and was never far off the pace on the winner.
They set sail for home at the top of the long straight opening up a lead they maintained to the finish scoring officially by a length.
“He had been running over sprint trips the last twice,” said Crouch. “We were hopeful that returning to this trip would help and he took me to the front easily and has held on gamely,” Crouch said.
The trainer Al Alawi completed a double with Royston French on Badira De Monlau turned the Al Muwaiji Maiden (1800m) into a procession.
The feature race for four-year-old Purebred Arabians put the judge and the camera to work on Friday when Men Alemarat and ES Kwashi flashed past the post together in the AED 100,000 Prestige race.
ES Kwashi ridden by apprentice Manuel Fernandes, had led virtually from the outset but was headed by Gerald Avranche’ mount Men Alemarat over 200 metres out. Fernandes’ mount refused to concede defeat though, fighting back gamely and putting his head in front again right on the line.
Trained on the course by Mohammed Ramadan, who could be heard enthusiastically cheering on his charge, ES Kwashi was recording a second consecutive and career win.
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 with and sponsored by 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.