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Al Muhairi and Egziama Set Sights on 2014 Meydan Success

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Oasis 1 Stables Targets Dubai World Cup Carnival

Musabah al Muhairi, Fathi Esaed Mohd Egziama and Wayne Smith; the Emirati trainer, the Libyan owner and the jockey from Ireland have become something of a dream team in UAE racing circles.

The trio, based at Meydan’s Oasis 1 Stables, made racing history when they became the first connections to win all three of Jebel Ali’s Racecourse’s biggest contests with two horses, Russian Rock (Jebel Ali Sprint) and Treble Jig (Jebel Ali Mile and Jebel Ali Stakes) for two consecutive seasons.

While Jebel Ali has proved a happy hunting ground for Team Oasis over the last few seasons , Al Muhairi and Egziama also have their sights set on success on Meydan’s all-weather and turf tracks this year.
And if recent form is anything to go by, the forecast looks good.

Al Muhairi saddled the first four winners at Meydan’s opening meeting on November 7 while three of the four were also owned by Egziama. Smith was in the saddle for two of them and was recording his first victories at Meydan Racecourse since February 2012.

“We have been very happy with how the season has started,” said the trainer. “We tried to have them ready to race for the start of the season.”
Comicality, the first winner of the four, would have been particularly satisfying for Al Muhairi and his team. The five-year-old claimed the opening Emirates SkyCargo Maiden and the fact that he made it to the racecourse at all was an exercise in patience from the trainer.

“When he came to us two years ago he had some problems but we wanted to be patient with him because he has a good pedigree and we felt that he had potential,” said Al Muhairi. “We wanted to start him off last season but he was just never sound and so we still could not race him.

“The people don’t know because they just come to watch the races, but if they knew the whole story about each horse and all the work, they will have an idea of how much time and effort is put into each runner by the staff at the stables.

“I am very lucky because I have a great staff. We are like one hand, working together.”

Al Muhairi is looking forward to the progression of a number of horses in the burgeoning Egziama string. The owner will have 11 stationed at the yard this season with a few new faces, purchased specifically for their all-weather or turf credentials.

Egziama himself has a strong horse-racing pedigree, coming from a family of trainers in Libya. The businessman, who travels between Libya and Dubai for his work in the steel industry, has a large string in training in Tripoli where they race at Abu Sita Racetrack.

“I came here for work, but I am very happy to be involved in the racing here. I am from a family of horse trainers in Libya. My grandfather was one of Libya’s very first trainers.
“I have many horses in training in Tripoli. Now in Libya they have opened their first stud book and they are making progress there.”

Egziama supports the development of racing in Libya, yet it is to Dubai where he looks for high-profile wins.

Last season he sold his Jebel Ali hero, Treble Jig and has invested in new horses for the UAE season.
“I bought three horses in the October sales, Ithoughtitwasover who is rated 100, Resolute Response who is 96 and Bismark who is a maiden and a half-brother to Russian Rock.”

“Treble Jig was an excellent servant to me and was very successful at Jebel Ali and I could not have asked for anything more. He was a Jebel Ali specialist, he doesn’t like the all-weather or the turf but at Jebel Ali he won many races.

“Now I’m looking at horses that can give me success on a variety of surfaces. I am looking at having runners on the turf and the all-weather and I think that we have made a good start.”
Indeed Hazaz, a winner on Meydan’s opening night is back for more as he over the same 1400m trip tomorrow (Thursday) in a tougher race, the DUBAL Casthouse Trophy. Meanwhile Canary Wharf, who boasts wins on the all-weather at Wolverhampton and Kempton in the UK, makes his seasonal debut in the 1900m DUBAL Billet Trophy.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how a number of mine progress,” said Egziama. “Hazaz, Canary Wharf, Chasing Halos, who won at Meydan last time, are all exciting. I have Carnival hopes for Chasing Halos.”

Al Muhairi agrees. “I like Chasing Halos a lot. He came to us last year but he had a problem. Last season we tried and tried with him but we couldn’t keep him fit,” he said. “Now he has had a wind operation and we have given him time and we worked hard all summer to give him the best recovery.

“He seems to be progressing nicely and he is a horse that we hope to see improve this season.”
Looking elsewhere in his yard, Al Muhairi can’t hide his excitement over the two-time Jebel Ali winner, Muarrab, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“He is looking like my big star for the Jebel Ali Sprint,” said the trainer. “He has been very impressive so far this season. There may be other horses that will come good during the season of course, but this horse certainly looks like a big hope at Jebel Ali.

“We will have some other horses for Sheikh Hamdan and I am looking for them to start in January. I like to go slowly, slowly with the horses that are new to Dubai, to give them time to settle and build them up. “