Al Zahir, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler and Minister of Finance, won the AED 2,500,000 Group 1 HH The President Cup at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday, February 11, 2018.
With a large crowd in attendance including guests of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, another big winner of the evening was the Yas Horse Racing Management owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs when Rmmas won the 1200 metre Group 3 Al Ruwais race and Qader scored in a handicap race.
Dassan DA also cornered some glory winning the Festival’s Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only race that was also part of Sunday’s race meeting.
Run over 2200 metres and with a prize fund of AED2,500,000, the Group 1 HH The President Cup was the highlight of the evening.
Al Zahir, settled in fourth on the inside by his jockey Jim Crowley, soon moved into top gear quickly to win the race for HH Sheikh Hamdan. The HH Sheikh Mansoor’s Yas Horse Racing Management-owned Ziyadd and Dahham finished second and third respectively.
The main support race, rescheduled having been due to be contested two weeks ago, the 1200m Group 3 Al Ruwais, was won in good style by Rmmas, a second winner on the evening saddled by Jean de Rouale for HH Sheikh Mansoor’s Yas Horse Racing Management. Settled in the middle of the field, taking the shortest route on the inside under Richard Mullen, when a gap appeared 300m out they shot through, winning their race in a matter of strides.
Rmmas has now won two of his three local starts and is clearly held in some regard by his trainer, who said: “As I said when he won at Al Ain, he is a nice, young, horse who we really like. He is versatile regarding conditions, both underfoot and distance so, hopefully, we have a few options with him.”
There may have only been six runners in the first of the two 1600m handicaps, but it produced a thrilling finish with four of the sextet separated by less than a length throughout the final 100m. Xavier Ziani, one of the Ambassadors of HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival, had gone straight to the front on Qader, owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor’s Yas Horse Racing Management and the pair opened up what proved to be a decisive advantage leaving the home turn.
Winning trainer De Roualle said: “Xavier has given him a very good ride and we were quite hopeful of a big run; he has only had two previous starts this season and improved from his run last week when a good third over 1400m. This is the trip he won over twice for us last season but then he had a setback and missed most of the second half of the campaign. It is nice to see him win again and, hopefully, he can do so again as he has not had that much racing so could still progress.”
It was a close finish in the Festival’s Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only which carried a prize fund of Dh 80,000.
Dassan DA from Hilal Al Alawi’s yard under Harry Bentley pipped MH Tawag under Connor Beasley while Noof KB ran into third place for Antonio Fresu.
Bentley, who had earlier won on Sunday, completed a double when producing Dassan DA to lead close home in the lesser of the 1600-metre handicap. Opening his local account, at the sixth attempt, it was a second career win for the Khalid Al Shamsi-owned Dassan DA who landed one of 15 outings in Europe.
Sheikh Hamdan Al Sharqi, Edward Hamod, Director of National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC, Ms. Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, General Manager of Wathba Stallions, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Musallam Al Ameri-Director of Al Jazira Stables and others crowned the winners of the Wathba Stallions Cup.
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, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, Al Massood Automobiles and Nissan Middleast as official car partners, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi Youth Council, General Authority for Sports and sponsored by Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Nirvana Travels and Tourism LLC, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, 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 2018, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort. (Inputs from ERA).