Al Asayl Team Continue Fine Form in Capital

Having combined for an Abu Dhabi treble last week, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his Al Asayl-based trainer, Eric Lemartinel and UAE Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, landed a double at the capital`s track on Sunday evening.

It was highlighted by the impressive and smooth success of Mahbooba in the Purebred Arabian 2200m HH The President Cup Prep, a conditions race, when she was chased home by stable companion, Abu Alabyad, the mount of Gerald Avranche.

Penalised at the weights and one of two mares among the dozen runners, Mahbooba has now suffered just one defeat after six career starts and looks a progressive and exciting young mare for her powerful connections.

“That is a great result for the team and we thought we had a decent chance but knew she had to build on what she had achieved so far,” said O’Shea.”

“And fair play to her, she has done that in good style and appears to be on the up so, with luck, will be a serious contender for the big race itself.”

The trio opened their account for the evening with the hard fought victory of Deyaar who narrowly prevailed in a 2200m conditions stakes, restricted to mares, to record just her second career win, on her 11th career start and making her sixth local outing a winning one.

Second to the aforementioned Mahbooba on her previous start, over 1600m, she was ridden patiently by O’Shea before the pair challenged, and led, halfway up the straight.

“They did not go particularly quickly which has helped her utilise her speed and she stayed the trip well enough,” said O’Shea. “It looked a good opportunity for her and she has taken full opportunity.”

The ten runners for the 1400m Thoroughbred HH The President Cup Prep, also a conditions contest, included the winner of the big race itself last year, Ghaamer, and he looked to have seen of most of the opposition in this race when skipping clear leaving the home turn.

However, in behind, the Satish Seemar-trained Akeed Champion made ridiculously smooth progress under Richard Mullen to ease alongside Ghaamer before quickening clear in very taking fashion in the final 200m.
A course and distance winner on his penultimate start, he probably found 1200m at Meydan too sharp last time but could not have been more impressive winning this in the style of a good horse.

“He won well here two starts ago and we hope he is a Dubai World Cup Carnival horse,” said Mullen. “This win will open up lots of options for him and the fast pace they went tonight has really suited him.

“I was always travelling well and that was a good effort against some proven performers.”

Fourteen went to post for the opening 1600m conditions contest but very few were ever seen with a realistic chance and Fernand Jara was always prominent aboard Sarab Al Reef.

Trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi, Jara’s mount had won his previous start, in a similar race, back in early December and was able to repeat the trick here. Having led early on, then disputed or tracked the pace, Sarab Al Reef took a definite advantage about 300m from home and always looked in control subsequently.

“That was just his sixth career start and second win,” said Al Hammadi.

“He is improving with experience and can hopefully continue to do so.”

Jara later completed a double when making all on AF Ssyaeb, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, in a 1200m handicap. Twice a winner last season, including over course and distance, he bounced back to winning ways after three fruitless runs this season and few of the field were ever seen with a winning chance.

AF Ssayeb is owned and bred by Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda who celebrated a memorable 1-2-3 with AF Mukhifah and AF Maher finishing second and third for Ernst Oertel who also saddled the fourth, Madjanthis.

Earlier the 1600m handicap panned out in pretty much the same fashion with only a handful of the 14 runners ever threatening to land a serious blow.

On this occasion victory went to the Mohd Ramadan-trained AF Al Mawhebah, who stalked early leader AF Hakeem before being asked to throw down a serious challenge by jockey, Chris Hayes.

They hit the front early in the straight and were never challenged with the mare making it two wins from just four career starts.

“It was a longer trip for her today and she stayed very well,” said Hayes. “I was always pretty confident and she has had a good look around suggesting she has more to offer with further experience.”