O’Shea and Murphy dominate

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O’Shea and Murphy dominate

Champion Irish jockeys steal the show by winning five out of six races in Abu Dhabi.

By James Jose (Senior Reporter)

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Published: Mon 16 Mar 2015, 12:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:34 PM

Dormello with Jockey Oisin Murphy astride, won the Abu Dhabi Championship (Group 3) on Sunday at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. — KT photo by Nezar Balout

Abu Dhabi — It was the night of the Irish with Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea and compatriot Oisin Murphy winning five of the six races in the UAE Capital on Sunday.

O’Shea termed the Racecourse at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club as his luckiest race track after notching three winners to add to his three in Al Ain on Friday. But it was Murphy who shone on the night with a ‘big race’ double in Abu Dhabi’s 14th and final race meeting on Sunday.

After stunning the strong Sanshaawes astride Dormello in the Abu Dhabi Championship Group 3, the British apprentice champion, astride It’s Far From Over, beat Salem Al Ketbi’s Nymphea Du Paon to land the Emirates Championship Group 1, the fourth and main act of the night.

It was Murphy’s 17th win this season.

O’Shea’s six wins over this weekend leapfrogged him past Silvestre De Sousa, who didn’t race on the night, to second behind leader Richard Mullen with 38 wins this season. O’Shea is three behind Mullen, who has 42 wins.

It’s Far From Over made a late charge with 200 metres left to run, to catch the sprinting Nymphea Du Paon, under Shane Karlsson, to win by one and a quarter lengths in the 2,200 metres contest.  Nymphea Du Paon had raced ahead of the pack and left the field behind by reaching 400 metres in just 26 seconds and 800 metres in 51 seconds to be 10 lengths ahead.

The lead was slashed to four lengths on the home turn as the field homed in on Nymphea Du Paon after which It’s Far From Over nudged ahead for his first win in the UAE in 10 starts and first Group 1 win in six attempts.

Al Ketbi’s Shayel Aldhabi, the mount of Tadhg O’Shea, and one of the strong contenders, was third.

“He was a decent horse with some decent results when he arrived from the United States two years ago. He took a long time to get acclimatise here but we always thought he had the potential to win a big prize and he didn’t disappoint us tonight,” trainer Omar Daraj Mohammed said after winning his first Group 1 prize.

“The plan was to hold him back as much as possible for the first half of the race and then gradually move up a bit and go all out on the home stretch. This plan worked out perfectly for us tonight,” he added.

In the third race, the Abu Dhabi Championship Group 3 run over 2,200 metres, Murphy guided Dhruba Selvaratnam’s Dormello from the mid-pack on the home stretch to beat down the Mike de Kock-trained Sanshaawes, the mount of Gerald Avranche, by a quarter length. It was Dormello’s second consecutive victory after winning on his previous start in Jebel Ali three weeks ago.

“It’s been a lucky race for me, having won it five or six times. Dormello ran a good race last time at Jebel Ali and we were hopeful. Now we’ll wait for an invite for the Sheema Classic. Hopefully, he can get a run on the World Cup night,” said trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam.

Earlier, in the first race of the day, the Salem Al Ketbi-trained RB Burning Ash, with O’Shea on the mount, pipped Wazn, trained by Helal Al Alawi, at the line to win the Al Shahamah Maiden Race by a head. Early leader Dahham W’Rsan, trained by Bakhit Al Ketbi and ridden by Sam Hitchcott, was third.

O’Shea then steered Al Ketbi’s Shaheer to a third consecutive win in six starts in the UAE Arabian Derby. O’Shea then completed his hat-trick with AS Asefah winning the Wathba Stud Farm Cup Championship (Private Owners Only).

“Abu Dhabi has been my luckiest race track. It has been a great night and it is nice to end it this way. RB Burning Ash has had a bit of experience as he had two good runs here. He got held up a bit on the home straight. A smoother exit and we could have gotten home easily. But then, a head is as good as five lengths,” said O’Shea.

About the second race, he said: “He was the best horse in the race. Though it didn’t go as planned, he won in the end.”

Leading jockey Mullen ended the night with a win on Sharaf Al Reef in the Grand Final Handicap, to bring the curtains down on Abu Dhabi’s race season.

james@khaleejtimes.com



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