Al Raihe’s winning streak continues

Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe continued his remarkable start to the season with a double at Abu Dhabi`s third meeting of the season on Sunday evening.

Having saddled four winners at Meydan`s opening meeting of the season, he followed that with a brace at Jebel Ali on Friday and he already has 11winners on the board this season.

Racing opened with a 1600m conditions race and Al Raihe made the best possible start with stable jockey Royston Ffrench making every post a winning one on Mestor who was having his first start in the UAE having shown some useful form in Europe.

He was having his first start for Al Raihe and Ffrench said: "He is a nice young Arab horse and we liked him from the moment he arrived in the yard. I was happy to jump out in front as he was the best horse in the race on ratings and he did it very nicely."

The trainer soon completed his double when Tadhg O`Shea made virtually all on Masharref in the 1400m handicap.

O`Shea, riding for his main employer, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: "Obviously Ali has his horses in great form and it is nice to get a winner for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan. This is a nice young horse and he has definitely improved mentally from last season. We have gone a good gallop so he has done well to run all the way to the line."

O`Shea then completed a double for both himself and the owner when Takaamul galloped on strongly to win the 2400m handicap under top-weight. In doing so, they provided Gill Duffield with her first winner of the new season.

Julio Peromingo then opened his account for the season when Pat Cosgrave drove Barak to victory in the 1600m maiden.

Cosgrave said: "I was always going very well and it was a case of waiting for the gap to open. Once it did I was always confident of landing the spoils.”

Racing concluded with a 2200m handicap, the only Thoroughbred race on the card, and it produced the best finish of the evening with Almiqdaad and Radegund Abbey locked in battle throughout the straight.

The pair flashed past the post together with the judge`s verdict going the way of the former, completing trebles for O`Shea and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, as well as making Erwan Charpy the third trainer to open his account for the 2011/12 season.

Charpy said: "This is a horse we have really been looking forward to getting on the track and it has taken us a while. We could not get him on the track last season but that rewards everybody`s patience. It was so close I am just relieved the judge called in our favour."

Earlier, Marjan Al Asayl won the 1200m handicap for Al Asayl handler Ernst Oertel. Never far off the pace under Champion Jockey Wayne Smith, he quickened to the front turning for home and never looked like being caught, though Smith had one anxious moment.

He explained: "The horse saw something about 50m out and ducked away from the rail but he did it well enough and Ernst said to be handy on him as he stays further.”