A brilliant performance by UAE teenager Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri on his 10-year-old Arabian stallion, Quran El Ulm, helped him score a narrow victory in the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s prestigious National Day Cup.
It was the 19-year-old’s first victory in the 120-km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Village in Al Wathba that took palce on Saturday.
HH Sheikh Mohammad attends HH Sheikha Fatima Endurance Ride Argentine Bastons wins from 106 starters Argentina’s… http://t.co/PROYfb9rUI
— sheikh mansor festiv (@sh_mansoor_fest) December 1, 2014
Representing Fazza 3 Stables, Al Marri started the final 16-km loop in seventh and finished just one second ahead of early leader Mohammed Al Abbar on Raksha.
Saeed Jaber Al Harbi completed a 1-2-3 sweep by the UAE on JQ Safi Safra, ahead of Argentinean jockey Martina Spelanzon.
Al Marri covered the distance in four hours, 10 minutes and 39 seconds at an average speed of 28.72km per hour.
The top 11 finishers drove away with 4WD vehicles that were on offer by the Emirates International Endurance Village.
Held under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the race attracted a quality group of 164 riders representing the UAE, Gulf states, Europe, Latin America and beyond in a truly global field.
Following his previous wins in UAE, UK and France, Al Marri said this particular success is very special for him and would like to dedicate his success to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai as well as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
“I have followed the plan of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who was supervising my progress in the race. I have ridden my horse patiently and settled in the middle of the field,” said Al Marri who was in 36th place after three of the five laps.
“Quran El Ulm is a good horse and I have expected myself to win when I saw my horse showing his stamina in the final two loops. He was picking up very impressively and travelled well to put his head in front on the line,” he added.
Only seven have been declared for the featured 1,600m conditions race at Meydan on Thursday evening, with Dane O’Neill electing to ride Shaishee.
Silvestre De Sousa was in the saddle four weeks ago when Shaishee pulverised nine rivals over 1,400m at Meydan’s first meeting on their new dirt surface.
O’Neill said: “He lost his maiden tag in a Jebel Ali handicap last season and then ran some great races in defeat, including a third in the Jebel Ali Sprint.
“He kept on improving and seems to still be going the right way.”
Stable companion Modern History, making his dirt debut and the mount of De Sousa, will be a big danger.
@DRC_Meydan super card later. Picks: Shateh; Silver Galaxy; Shaishee; Genius Step; Tahaamah; Colour Guard.
— Laura King (@LauraKingDXB) December 4, 2014
Genius Step a very significant non-runner @DRC_Meydan later. Should give The Taj the chance to get his head in front.
— Laura King (@LauraKingDXB) December 4, 2014
Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen are not represented in the main race but have combined to win five of the 12 Meydan races so far this season. Having only had 11 mounts, Mullen boasts an enviable strike rate and three of their Meydan winners this season are back in action.
These are headed by Genius Step, a 1,200m handicap winner four weeks ago who bids to repeat that feat on Thursday.
Mullen said: “He is a horse we have always liked and we hope he is a Carnival horse. This is a tougher task than a month ago but he
remains in good form.”
He was chased home last time by The Taj, trained by Doug Watson and the mount of O’Neill, and it would be no surprise if they fight out the finish again
Former Godolphin jockey Silvestre De Sousa, recently appointed stable jockey to Musabah Al Muhairi, was in double form at Al Ain yesterday.
His brace was highlighted by the victory of Maltese Cat in a 1,400m handicap, the only Thoroughbred contest on the card.
De Sousa and his new boss had combined to win the concluding race at Meydan on Thursday, and the Brazilian jockey said: “It has been a good start to the new job and hopefully there is a good season ahead. We have some nice horses in the yard and hopefully there are plenty more winners to come.”
The jockey completed a double, steering Ubu Al Mels to victory in the concluding 1,000m handicap to the delight of trainer Mohd Ramadan.
The official feature was a 1,600m conditions race and Royston Ffrench drove Ghalib to a narrow victory for trainer Majed Al Jahouri.
They led close home to deny Pat Dobbs aboard Haajeb, saddled by Yousif Al Bloushi.
Another trainer to saddle a one-two was Helal Al Alawi with George Buckell and Alizee Du Bibal prevailing in a very close photo finish from Tadhg O’Shea aboard Mazaha.
MH Lazzaz is a maiden no more, having finally won, at the 22nd attempt, in a 1,400m handicap with Xavier Ziani performing the steering. It was a third UAE winner for trainer, Elise Jeanne, and a second this season.
A delighted trainer said: “We have made a good start to the season and this horse deserves a win after some decent efforts in defeat.”
The meeting opened with a 1,600m handicap and Richard Mullen continued his excellent start to the campaign with victory on Sabbaq for trainer Jaber Bittar.