Horse racing

Al Mheiri, Fresu light up Meydan Racecourse

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on November 19, 2020
Casey Jones (left), ridden by Antonio Fresu, pips Thegreatcollection to the post in the feature race at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Thursday night. — Dubai Racing Club

The Emirati-Italian pair land a treble at the races on Thursday night

Emirati handler Musabbeh Al Mheiri and jockey Antonio Fresu joined forces to complete a brilliant treble and in the process denied American conditioner Doug Watson in the ninth race meeting of UAE’s horse racing season and the second at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Thursday night.

The Italian, who had celebrated his 100th winner in the UAE in February, guided Casey Jones to a thrilling victory in a rated conditions race for thoroughbreds, at Dh 120,000, the highlight of the night.

Watson, a six-time UAE Champion Trainer, had been eyeing a hat-trick of wins after Super Chianti and Mayaadeen had run out victors earlier. And a third was there for the taking as Thegreatcollection, the mount of Patrick Cosgrave, headed for home in the contest run over eight furlongs.

But Casey Jones, the five-year-old from Casamento, swooped from the outside and tussled with Thegreatcollection before pipping the latter to the post by the minutest of margins — by a nose.

Casey Jones’ stablemate Alkaamel, who had set the pace early on, couldn’t keep up with the two and went on to finish three lengths behind in third.

Earlier, Al Mheiri and Fresu combined to see Antonio Vivaldi make a dream debut on dirt, with the Zebedee four-year-old triumphing in the thoroughbred maiden over seven furlongs. Antonio Vivaldi’s previous two runs were on turf where the colt had finished second and third in Abu Dhabi and Meydan respectively.

“To be honest no because it was very tight and Thegreatcollection was responding to my attacks on the inside,” Fresu told the Dubai Racing Channel when asked whether he thought Casey Jones had won it.

“He’s not very quick at the beginning but he came with a great run in the last couple of furlongs. It was a nice battle and I was lucky I got my nose in front,” added the Italian, who has 109 winners from 1194 starts. It was the fourth victory in nine starts for Casey Jones.

Fresu and Al Mheiri then capped an excellent night with Welsh Lord lording it to win the thoroughbred handicap run over 10 furlongs, by two lengths.

The evening had swung into action with Jayide Al Boraq coming up with a sensational run to stun RB Money To Burn and AF Alwajel, to clinch the lone Purebred Arabian affair.

Thirteen runners took the post with Rawaa and Taymour being non-runners and the seven-furlong race seemed to be in RB Money To Burn’s hands as the mare made a run for home.

But then, Bernardo Pinheiro asked for more from Jayide Al Boraq and the six-year-old responded by showing blistering pace to burn RB Money To Burn.

“I was confident. Today, he proved what he can do because today he was in the top class, with the top horses. I thought he could have run a little bit closer. He jumped well and I tried to be close but the other horses showed more speed and I felt that he needed my hands because it was his first time on this track and I just gave him and tried to send him to the end,” said Pinheiro.

“Of course, in the middle of the corner, I was worried because the filly (mare) was in front alone and nobody was following her but I felt that I have the horse and I thought that if I cannot beat her, at least I can finish second. I’m glad that he could do it,” he added.

And Pinheiro was delighted to get a Group 2 winner for trainer Khalifa Al Neyadi.

“It is a dream come true. Just last week, I had a conversation with him and told him let’s give our best with this horse because we have had a lot of winners together. And he supported me a lot, my whole time here in the UAE over these last four years and I wanted to win a Group race for him. And it happened today,” Pinheiro said.

The next race meeting is at the Al Ain Racecourse on Friday night.


1. PA, Group 2, 1400m (a7F), Dirt, Dh 97,500: Jayide Al Boraq

Jockey: Bernardo Pinheiro

Trainer: Khalifa Al Neyadi

2. TB, Maiden, 1200m (a6F), Dirt, Dh 82,500: Super Chianti

Jockey: Patrick Dobbs

Trainer: Doug Watson

3. TB, Maiden, 1400m (a7F), Dirt, Dh 82,500: Antonio Vivaldi

Jockey: Antonio Fresu

Trainer: Musabbeh Al Mheiri

4. TB, Handicap, 1400m (a7F), Dirt, Dh 82,500: Mayaadeen

Jockey: Dane O’Neill

Trainer: Doug Watson

5. TB, Rated Conditions, 1600m (a8F), Dirt, Dh 120,000: Casey Jones

Jockey: Antonio Fresu

Trainer: Musabbeh Al Mheiri

6. TB, Handicap, 1200m (a6F), Dirt, Dh 95,000: Lavaspin

Jockey: Tadhg O’Shea

Trainer: Satish Seemar

7. TB, Handicap, 2000m (a10F), Dirt, Dh 85,000: Welsh Lord

Jockey: Antonio Fresu

Trainer: Musabbeh Al Mheiri

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