The Red Devils had lost to Brighton last weekend
Charlie Appleby bagged a turf race double at Meydan Racecourse on Friday night, including the featured Zabeel Trophy with Path Of Thunder, but the Godolphin handler was compelled to take a bow to the absolute mastery of local handler Bhupat Seemar who swept five races on the card.
It would appear that Seemar, who trains out of the pristine Zabeel Stables in the heart of Dubai, can do it all having discovered the winning momentum with a double at Meydan’s New Year’s Day meeting.
It was by no means an ordinary training feat considering that Seemar even excelled himself when he sent out a horse that was having his first start in 793 days to win in a compelling fashion.
Previously trained by Andre Fabre in France for Godolphin, Durandal had raced just once in his career back in November 2019 at Chantilly, where he finished third in a maiden. With stable jockey and treble winner, Tadhg O’Shea, in the irons, the son of star superstar Dubawi hardly looked a horse short of racing form as he upstaged his 12 rivals to cross the line a cozy four and a half-length winner.
Only the Rashed Bouresly-trained El Baareq offered a semblance of opposition under Brazilian jockey Vagner Leal.
Reflecting on a day that he won’t forget in a hurry, Seemar generously paid tribute to his team at Zabeel Stables saying: “It’s always special to win five races, especially here at Meydan.
“But I have a great team at home to thank for this. They all work very hard so this is their success as well. Obviously, we’ve got some nice horses as well, so it’s a combination of a lot of things.
“It’s also great to have someone like Tadhg O’Shea riding for us. He’s a phenomenal rider who puts in a lot of work at the stable as well,” he added.
Commenting on Durandal’s feat, Seemar said: “He has been training well so we were reasonably confident coming here,” the Zabeel Stables handler said. “He’s a horse with tons of speed, which is nice.
“We were expecting him to win today. In fact, he was one of my best picks of the day. He’s a Dubawi so they get better with age.”
Seemar also saddled Sanad Libya to a second course success in the 2200metre Rated Conditions event.
His five-timer is only eclipsed in recent times by champion UAE trainer Doug Watson, who in November 2019 saddled all six winners on the card.
While Appleby may have been denied the spotlight on Friday there is no doubt that he will be one to watch when the 2022 Dubai World Cup Carnival commences in a week at Meydan.
The Godolphin handler’s yard at Marmoom Stables in Dubai’s thriving endurance landscape in the desert is brimming with depth and talent, a point that was driven home when third-string Path Of Thunder handsomely won the Zabeel Trophy. Last season’s Epsom Derby sixth One Ruler and
Craven Stakes (G3) runner-up La Barrosa, could only finish third and sixth.
Appleby commented: “Richard (Mullen) gave him a nice ride and said he picked up very nicely when asked. He’s a hard horse to place off that handicap mark but he’s improving. “He's done it well tonight so we’ll see what options we have for the Carnival. But he’s a horse that likes to have a break between races so we won’t rush him.”
That was the second leg of a double for Appleby, who earlier combined with stable jockey William Buick. Their Silent Film made a successful local debut in the second division of the 1400m turf handicap, just holding on by a nose from the fast-finishing Magical Land.
Such was the day’s action that while Appleby and Seemar were dominating proceedings, some racegoers may not have fully grasped the significance of Antonio Fresu’s four wins. He scored a brace for his main boss, Musabbeh Al Mheiri, on Alkaamel and Dahawi, and also collected two wins for Seemar, on the newly-blinkered Ranaan, in the 1200m dirt handicap, and Law Of Peace in the 1600m dirt handicap.
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