Mughader makes late charge to win in Al Ain
Richard Mullen rode his 399th UAE winner on Friday night.
Jintshi opens his UAE account at the 12th attempt at Al Ain Racecourse
Published: Sat 6 Jan 2018, 9:15 PM
Last updated: Sat 6 Jan 2018, 11:19 PM
Racing at Al Ain Racecourse on Friday evening was highlighted by a competitive 2000m handicap, which did not disappoint with the lead changing hands at least three times in the final 500m.
RB Goliath took up the running at about halfway, but was immediately challenged for the lead by AF Mahshoum, who passed him briefly before RB Goliath regained the initiative once he was then able to hold on to until headed passing the 200m pole by RB Rich Surprise. Meanwhile, BF Mughader was able to challenge between, snatching the lead with about 100m left and staying on well to land the spoils.
It had not looked a likely victory when, after veering left at the start, BF Mughader found himself last of the ten runners but Antonio Fresu, riding for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and completing a double, did not panic; he let his mount find a good rhythm before making steady progress throughout the straight. A winner once on dirt in Oman, BF Mughader won on his third and previous UAE outing, all on the Abu Dhabi turf, before switching surfaces here.
Al Hadhrami said: "He has not had that much racing and we were happy the surface would suit him. He won at Abu Dhabi over 2200m, so the distance was never going to be a problem." Just 30 minutes later, the trainer was celebrating a double when Al Mobher landed a 1600m maiden, winning for the first time at the eighth attempt. Owned by The Omani Royal Cavalry, it was a belated first winner of the season for jockey Adrie de Vries. De Vries did not have to wait long to double his seasonal tally, recording an ultra-smooth victory on Munowra in the concluding 1400m maiden. The action kicked off with a 1000m handicap, won in style by AF Mukhifah, who was never headed under Fresu and chased throughout by stable companion AF Meeqat, the mount of Connor Beasley, with the pair first and second throughout. It was a third career victory for Fresu's mount, but first on dirt after two Abu Dhabi turf wins.
If her win was comfortable, that of AF Sanad in the conditions race that followed over the same 1000m was far from so. Having tracked the early pace, he went to the front about 300m from home, but was soon collared by AF Al Asef, who seemingly had the race won entering the final 100m. Like the feature, the only Thoroughbred race was also a 2000m handicap and it proved the ideal opportunity for Jintshi to open his UAE account at the 12th attempt with Richard Mullen, who rode his 399th UAE winner, always looking confident.
The powerful Al Asayl team rarely leave Al Ain empty handed but had to wait until the penultimate race, a 1600m handicap, to get on the scoresheet, courtesy of the hard fought victory of Wathiq. Previously a maiden, after just two starts on turf at Abu Dhabi, he was ridden patiently by Tadhg O'Shea and sported the silks of The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed ?Al Nahyan.
Trainer Eric Lemartinel said: "I am really pleased to see this horse win because he nearly died last year from colic and it has been a big effort from the whole team to get him on the track."