Muarrab No One Trick Pony with Classy Meydan Win

Manark claims the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah for jockey Paul Hanagan, trainer Erwan Charpy and owner, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Credit: Dubai Racing Club // Erika Rasmussen

Eight-time Jebel Ali Winner Dominates 1200m Listed Sprint

Previously considered a Jebel Ali specialist by many, Muarrab seemingly put that theory firmly to bed with an emphatic victory in the Listed 1200m Garhoud Sprint one of the many highlights at Meydan on Thursday evening.

In doing so, the winner of eight races on Jebel Ali’s uphill track, led home a 1-2-3 for his owner, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum with Rafeej, winner of this race in both 2013 and 2014, chasing him home and Kifaah in third.

The tactics were obvious - get out and put the rest to the sword. And they worked perfectly with Muarrab and jockey, Paul Hanagan, never seeing another rival.

“He is a horse we have always had massive hopes for and I have won plenty of races on him,” said Hanagan. “Most horses take a while to acclimatise from England but he seemed to settle straight in.

“Basically he has such a great temperament he takes everything in his stride and is, seemingly, just ‘on the up’.
“Hopefully he is a Dubai Golden Shaheen horse at the end of the season, at least that is where we would like to be aiming.”

For owner and trainer it was a big-race double. The meeting opened with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the 1600m Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah and it was turned into a procession by Manark under another positive ride from Hanagan.

Trained by Erwan Charpy, Manark had won both his previous outings at Meydan, highlighted by a Dubai World Cup night victory in the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic.

Penalised for that victory and subsequently disappointing on the Abu Dhabi turf on his return this season, he demonstrated his preference for Meydan, the dirt surface and travelling left-handed here.

“It was a big relief to see him back to form,” said Charpy. “We went to Abu Dhabi last time hoping for a big run but he was shocking. It does make you wonder if you have done something wrong but he is clearly a different horse here on the dirt.

“I actually thought he was perhaps going too quick early on but Paul has given him a great ride. The horse is a real livewire and you cannot disappoint him so everything panned out perfectly.”
He was chased home by Dane O’Neill aboard the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Sivit Al Maury, giving owner Sheikh Hamdan a 1-2.

Special Fighter did not particularly need to live up to his name to run out the emphatic winner of the 1600m Dubai Creek Mile. He was always going well under Fernando Jara, tracking the early pace of Torchlighter, before storming clear halfway down the straight.

For the winner, it was only a third start in the UAE and a fourth outing under the tutelage of Musabah Al Muhairi having also won in China as recently as April.

A dual winner in Europe for Mark Johnston, he did not surprise connections.

“He had been working very well and we were certainly hopeful,” said Jara. “He relaxed nicely in the race and then responded when I asked. Hopefully he is a genuine Dubai World Cup Carnival horse.”

The first of the three Listed Thoroughbred races, the 1600m Dubai Creek Mile, looked competitive on paper but, in reality, transpired to be a one-horse race. Fourth in the same race last year, the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Le Bernardin was soon in front and, at halfway, had most of his six rivals in trouble.

On the home turn, his jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, kicked for home and the race, as a contest, was over. They stormed clear and never looked likely to be caught.

“We all know he stays further so I was happy to be positive,” said O’Shea. “It is the first time I have ridden him in a race and I was always happy out in front.

“He has been pretty fresh at home so this 1600m proved the ideal return for him. It opens up more options now and I think we will be looking at the Al Maktoum Challenge races at the Carnival.”

By definition, the weakest of the races was the 2000m maiden but trainer, Satish Seemar will not be mulling over that fact, having supplied the winner and third.

For a long way it appeared apprentice Hector Crouch had stolen the race from the front on Seemar’s Carbon Dating, only to be collared about 300m from home by stable companion and eventual winner Piepowder Court under Richard Mullen.

“It was not a great race,’ said Mullen. “I chose him over Carbon Dating as I thought he was the safer choice stamina-wise and that has probably proved the case.

“Basically, it is over to the handicapper now as to where he goes.”

Crouch was later successful on the Seemar-trained Zalzilah who made virtually all in the concluding 1400m handicap to provide the trainer a welcome double.