Al Raihe Grandstands At Al Ain

Ghadeer Stays to win the Stayers Race
Photo: Erika Rasmussen

Trainer’s treble takes Friday honours

FORMER CHAMPION UAE TRAINER Ali Rashid Al Raihe was the man to follow at Al Ain Racecourse on Friday evening when he prepared three winners, two of whom were partnered by his Grandstand Stables’ first jockey, Tadhg O’Shea.

Al Raihe completed his treble in the the final race on the card, the featured Round 3 Of The Al Ain Marathon Series (3200m).

However, on this occasion he was foiling O’Shea in his own bid for a third winner on the seven race card. It was Paul Hanagan, retained jockey to HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who produced the owner’s Ghadeer to deny O’Shea and the Eric Lemartinel-trained Sheikh Down close home.

O’Shea had looked to have the race under control 300 metres from home but Sheikh Down was unable to thwart the late challenge of Hanagan’s mount.

“He just stays really well,” said Hanagan. “Last time over 2000 metres we made up a lot of ground in the straight and the extra distance here has suited.
“He will probably get even further and has taken to this Al Ain surface and the long straight here.”

The season`s leading owner was also enjoying a second victory on the card having supplied three of the eight runners in the Al Sarooj Handicap (1600m).

However, with seeming first string Jabal Aly never landing a blow under Hanagan and second choice, Ashraaf, outpaced in the final 400m having held every chance at the top of the straight, it was left to El Salaam to provide victory for the owner.

With O’Shea sporting the owner’s white cap, the Al Raihe-trained El Salaam stayed on strongly to complete a double for the jockey and the middle leg of the trainer’s treble.

It was a second career win for the horse and first, at the fourth attempt, in the UAE.

“We are having a good season,” said Al Raihe. “The horses have been running well and we were quite hopeful this horse would go close as he had been working nicely.”

Earlier, trainer and jockey initiated their combined brace in the Al Kazna Maiden (2000m), the only Thoroughbred race on the card when Skygazer, trying the trip for the first time, was able to post his first success at the 14th attempt and his 12th in the UAE.

He had been running reasonably in defeat, including in Meydan races won by Godolphin’s Blue Creek and Mike de Kock’s Baroot, before a close fourth at Jebel Ali last Friday.

Never far off the pace under O’Shea, they were in front before the halfway point and the season’s leading jockey had a very willing partner.

“He deserved a win after some decent efforts over shorter trips,” said O’Shea. “We thought this 2000 metres on a galloping track like Al Ain would suit him and it has. He was fit and genuine which proved sufficient to get the job done.”

MH Stable’s trainer Elise Jeanne saddled first and second in the Al Wataniya Cup (1600m), a maiden for fillies and mares, with apprentice Manuel Fernandes on AS Ariaf locked in battle with Jose Santiago and Sarraf in the final 100 metres. It was the former, having only her second career start, who prevailed.

“They are two nice types,” said Jeanne. “I thought they would both run well and it is a great result for the yard.”

Both carry the colours of owner-breeder Sheikh Hamed bin Khadim Al Butti.

The opening Wathba Stud Farm Cup Handicap (1800m) was won by Joyous Dream, a first winner, as an owner in the UAE, for his trainer, Dhruba Selvaratnam.

It continued a great weekend for Selvaratnam and his stable jockey, Chris Hayes, after the pair had combined to win Thursday night’s UAE 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Meydan with Market Rally. That big race success looked a lot easier than this one, with Hayes’ mount not looking totally straightforward.

“It was a great night at Meydan obviously and the response on social media has been amazing,” said Hayes. “As for this horse, he works really well but had been a bit disappointing. The step back up to 1800m has helped him.”

Hayes later completed a double, landing the Al Muwaiji Maiden (1400m) for trainer Ahmed Al Mehairibi aboard Shehab Abu Dhabi, the four-year-old making his second career outing a winning one.

The Aud Al Touba Handicap (1800m) also provided a first; in this case when UAE racing stalwart Tony Manuel saddled his first winner from his new base at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

Aslaan, ridden by Sam Hitchcott and receiving weight from all his 14 rivals, broke the trainer’s seasonal duck with his 23rd runner of the campaign.

“It is nice to get one on the board,” said Manuel. “We have said all season whatever we achieve this campaign will be a bonus as we have plenty of young horses, most of who only arrived, from France, in the middle of November.”