Frenchman Veron on the double in Abu Dhabi
Jockey lands wins aboard Mujeeb and Shanaghai City in the final horse race meeting of the year
Fabrice Veron closed out this year’s horse racing with a double, the highlight being the triumph in the feature, at the races in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night.
The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in the UAE Capital was host to the 22nd race meeting of the season and the fifth at the venue and the French jockey landed wins aboard Mujeeb and Shanaghai City.
First up, it was an all-French partnership as Veron and conditioner Eric Lemartinel combined to oversee Mujeeb emerge victorious in the Abu Dhabi Championship, for owner President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
An hour later, Veron was on the mount of Shangahai City as the four-year-old colt landed the spoils in the Al Mushrif handicap, the one of two thoroughbred races on the seven-race card.
Mujeeb bounced back from a disappointing run last time out for his second win in three starts. Breaking from gate four, Vero placed Mujeeb, the three-year-colt from Dahess, in the mid-pack as Lamhat Al Khalediah set the pace.
Soon, Shoja’a Muscat, who was lurking just beside Lamhat Al Khalediah, slotted into the lead. But just after the bend and they headed from home in the eight-furlong affair, Mujeeb made his way through and nosed ahead and prevailed by 2.25 lengths over Ottoman, the ride of Connor Beasley. Al Mansour Af, the mount of Irishman Tadhg O’Shea, finished third, a length behind Ottoman.
“I was confident last time but I don’t know how he ended up finishing fifth. He is a good horse and he gave it everything. He can improve and the distance is not a problem for him,” said Veron.
Shanaghai City, meanwhile, notched his second victory on the trot and third win in 18 starts after he beat the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Karnavaal by 1.5 lengths in the eight-furlong contest.
Racing action got going with Zalman, the four-year-old from Hilal Al Zaman, beating Af Ramz by a two-length margin in the United Arab Emirates Equestrian & Racing Federation maiden. It was his maiden victory in 10 starts with him being trained by Helal Alalawi and ridden by Patrick Cosgrave.
Hisham Al Khalediah II, saddled by Mohamed Daggash and the ride of Fernando Jara, was a four-length winner over King Majd, trained by Alalawi.
The third race on the card was the Abu Dhabi Sports Council handicap and Qader returned to action in fine style, 322 days since his last outing, with the eight-year-old veteran winning the eight-furlong contest under Adrie de Vries.
The Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only handicap was an intense affair with Af Majalis tussling with Af Alareeq in the closing stages of the 1600-metre race. But record eight-time UAE Champion Jockey O’Shea showed nerves of steel to fend off the challenge. And it was back-to-back victories for the Af Albahar colt after he had scored his maiden win over 1200 metres, at the same venue last month.
And Bernardo Pinheiro wrapped up the night and the action for the year by winning the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club thoroughbred handicap with Nayslayer.
The Brazilian jockey was delighted with the win and thanked the trainers and owners for giving him opportunities to shine.
“I have won more in Al Ain but I've had a few winners in Abu Dhabi too. I’m improving season by season but I still have a lot to learn. I feel so happy and I want to thank all the owners and trainers for giving me the opportunity,” said Pinheiro.
United Arab Emirates Equestrian & Racing Federation, PA Maiden, 2200M (a11F), Turf, Dh 80,000: Zalman
Jockey: Patrick Cosgrave
Trainer: Helal Alalawi
Emirates Arabian Horse Society, PA Maiden, 1600M (a8F), Turf, Dh 80,000: Hisham Al Khalediah II
Jockey: Fernando Jara
Trainer: Mohamed Daggash
Abu Dhabi Sports Council, PA Handicap, 1600M (a8F), Turf Dh 85,000: Qader
Jockey: Adrie de Vries
Trainer: Jean de Roualle
Abu Dhabi Championship, PA Listed, 1600M (a8F), Turf, Dh 180,000: Mujeeb
Jockey: Fabrice Veron
Trainer: Eric Lemartinel
Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only, PA Handicap, 1600M (a8F), Turf, Dh 70,000: Af Majalis
Jockey: Tadhg O’Shea
Trainer: Ernst Oertel
Al Mushrif, TB Handicap, 1600M (a8F), Turf, Dh 90,000: Shanaghai City
Jockey: Fabrice Veron
Trainer: Rashed Bouresly
Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, TB Handicap, 1400M (a7F), Turf, Dh 100,000: Nayslayer
Jockey: Bernardo Pinheiro
Trainer: Jaber Ramadhan
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