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Canwinn Lives Up To His Name At Abu Dhabi

Jebel Ali-based trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam looks set to finish the season with a flourish and his Canwinn landed the most valuable race at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, the concluding 1600m handicap and only Thoroughbred race on the card.

A double at Jebel Ali nine days previously had doubled the trainer’s tally for the season before he opened his 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival account with United Color on Thursday when stable companion Jaasoos also went close.

As happens so often at Abu Dhabi, it was a blanket finish but James Doyle was able to drive Canwinn to the front in the final 100m and they were then all out to hold the late challenge of Musaafer, with long-time leader Encipher battling on grimly and recent course and distance winner Mujrayaat all involved in a thrilling finish.

Doyle said: “We were badly drawn in 14 so have had to take our time. He stays further and has need all of the 1600m to get there. The horses are running well and hopefully we can end the season well.”

Eric Lemartinel supplied a 1-2 in the 2200m handicap with stable jockey Gerald Avranche landing the spoils on Ibn Battuta Monlau who was chased home by Wayne Smith on Simbar Du Loup.

Well beaten on his previous start over 1600m, the winner relished the return to this longer trip and Avranche explained: “He is a big horse who takes a while to get going and stays well. The 1600m was too short for him last time and it is a great result for Eric and the team to provide the second as well.”

Thirty minutes later it looked as though the pair would complete a quick double with their Mooser leading close home, only to be caught in the final strides by the Jaber-Bittar-trained Kana’An with Daragh O’Donohoe in the saddle. Last turning for home, the winner was able to weave through runners down the centre of the track, before switching to the far rail for the final decisive effort.

O’Donohoe said: “That was not the plan as I was told to sit quite handy but they just went too quick for me so I let him float around at the back. We were lucky in the straight with the gaps opening when we needed.

“Once we went to the rail he picked up nicely and I always thought we would just get there.”

Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea was another forced to revert to Plan B after his mount Richlore missed the break in the following 1600m conditions race. Forced to take their time after that slow start, they finished with a real flourish to lead close home to the relief of O’Shea who said: “The idea was to race quite prominently but that slow start forced us to look for an alternative plan. Luckily, she is a very useful filly and things worked out in the end.

“She is a real prospect for next season as she has plenty of ability.”

They caught the Gill Duffield-trained Djanet Monlau (who faded into third) but the trainer gained compensation in the following 1000m handicap with Sam Hitchcott never far off the pace on AF Lafeh.

Well beaten on his sole previous start, on the Jebel Ali dirt in November, the Samir Hawaa-trained Tha’er clearly appreciated the switch to turf to register a narrow victory in the opening 1600m maiden with Carlos Sanchez performing the steering.

It was the trainer’s first winner since the 2009/10 season.