Abu Dhabi`s New Year doubles

The first meeting of 2012 in the UAE produced doubles for jockeys Royston Ffrench and James Doyle, as well as trainer Tony Manuel, on a seven race card at Abu Dhabi.

Doyle and Manuel made the perfect start to the New Year by combining to win the opening two 1400m maidens with Al Waqqad leading in the dying strides to land the opening race before stable companion BH Almozieg scored a more comfortable victory over the same course and distance.

Doyle said: "Obviously that is a great way to start 2012 and I have really had a great experience this far in my first UAE season. I have picked up some really nice spare rides for the likes of Tony Manuel and Mr Selvaratnam`s horses have been running consistently well throughout the season. I have really enjoyed the experience and am just so grateful to everybody for this fantastic opportunity."

The easiest winner of the night was arguably Garbah who turned the concluding 1400m maiden, the only Thoroughbred race on the card, into a procession under Ffrench riding for his main employer, Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

Runner-up in each of her first three career starts, the four-year-old filly then disappointed at Sharjah but bounced back here in no uncertain terms.

Ffrench said: "We were hopeful of a good run but I did not expect to win like that. She was always travelling like a winner and picked up nicely. I am not sure how good a race it was but she won nicely. We have had a great start to the season and it is nice to open the 2012 account for the whole team."

Ffrench was doubling up having won a 1600m conditions race on Tresor De Faust for trainer Mohd Ramadan.
Ffrench said: "On ratings we knew we had a decent chance even though the horse had failed to win before. He had to battle hard as plenty of us had chances close home and it was nice to come out on top."

Equally as impressive as Garbah was Thakif who made a winning local debut in the 1600m maiden for trainer Majed Al Mahouri.

Harry Bentley was in the saddle and said: "I was never worried and always though I was on the winner. His form in France was very good and hopefully he can go on from here."

The most valuable race of the night, a 2200m handicap, produced the closest finish with the Gill Duffield-trained Takaamul prevailing by the narrowest of margins from Forgehill Cezanne.

Richard Hills rode the winner and said: "It was very very close and nobody knew who had run. I think we would have settled for a dead-heat it was that close but it is great when you get the verdict in such circumstances."

Eric Lemartinel rarely leaves Abu Dhabi empty handed and combined with Gerald Avranche to win a 1600m handicap with Naseem Al Reef.