'If a horse is able to run his race, he can turn out to be quite competitive'
Flashback4 years ago
Have you ever watched a movie that did not have a lead role, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example?
Well, Sunday’s seven-race matinee card at Meydan was a bit like that with no single trainer or jockey dominating proceedings as honours were evenly shared by trainers Bhupat Seemar and Ahmed bin Harmash and jockey Dane O’Neill.
All three picked up doubles on an entertaining afternoon’s racing where Royal Mews provided Deva Racing, a new syndicate, with their first-ever win when landing the Mina By Azizi Handicap, the feature on Meydan’s Sunday afternoon card.
A Dh 520,000 purchase at the September Racing In Dubai Sale, the ex-John and Thady Gosden-trained son of French stallion Siyouni looked hugely impressive when powering to a three and three-quarter length victory under champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea.
Fifth on his local debut on turf, Royal Mews took to the dirt like a duck takes to water and, comfortably had the measure of Celtic Prince Godolphin’s well-fancied Desert Peace in third place
“He disappointed on turf, but he’s a horse Bhupat has always held in high esteem,” said O’Shea, the seven-time UAE champion jockey. “He trains beautifully on dirt in the mornings so we said we’ll forget about turf for the moment and switch to the dirt. He’s a natural on the dirt and he’s a strong traveller and does everything right, he’s very genuine.
Seemar, however, was inclined to think of a race like the Group 3 Burj Nahaar as a potential target for the exciting Royal Mews, but would not commit to the idea.
Royal Mews brought up a double for Seemar, who saddled a one-two in the preceding Al Furjan By Azizi Maiden, over 1200metres on turf, but the stables handler said he was surprised at which horse won the race.
Expectations were high that Lade Causeway would finally break his duck after 13 misses, but that was not to be as the perennial maiden was cruelly denied by his stablemate, Bosphorus, who was making his local debut and first start for 345 days.
Ridden by Shadwell jockey Dane O’Neill, the son of Golden Horn, who cost Dh 300,000 at the April Racing In Dubai Sale, put his head in front at the line to win by a shorthead.
“To be honest, it was a bit of a surprise. He’s training really well but I thought he wanted to go a bit further,” said Seemar. “We were going to use this race to get him ready or a race two weeks from now. But he’s a nice horse who is always ready to run.”
O’Neill collected his second success in the afternoon’s concluding race, the Creek Views by Azizi Handicap.
The 1,400 metre turf contest delivered the most exciting finish of the meeting as Al Salt battled hard in the closing stages to prevail over Taamol, Magical Land and Manahir.
The first and second were both trained by long-time UAE-based French trainer Erwan Charpy.
Emirati handler Ahmed bin Harmash got into the act during the second half of the card and like Seemar and O’Neill, collected back-to-back wins.
His first win came courtesy Ursa Minor, who won at the fourth attempt, when taking out the the Aliyah by Azizi Handicap, over 1900metres on turf. The winner sat just behind the leaders before being asked for his effort by Ray Dawson and won easily from King Of Arms by two and a half lengths.
Ursa Minor is owned by 10-year-old Hamdan Harmash, son of the trainer, who was delighted with the win. “I have a few horses but I like this horse a lot,” he said. “He’s nice looking and when I watch him train, I like how he runs. He’s a good horse.”
Woodditto, who was having his first start in 338 days, provided bin Harmash with his second win in the Riviera Beachfront Handicap, over 2200 metres on dirt.