Areem Claims Second Consecutive All-Emirati National Day Cup Victory

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Al Jahouri and Ajtebi Land Abu Dhabi Showpiece

Just as he had done 12 months ago, Areem made every yard of the running to land the Group 1 Purebred Arabian National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening.

In doing so, he becomes the fourth horse to win the race more than once after Alanudd (1993, 1996-1998), Ezil (1999-2001) and Dynamite (2006 & 2010).

Trained by Majed Al Jahouri, who also saddled the third, Rabbah De Carrere, Areem was making his seasonal debut this year, having had the benefit of a run when winning this last year.

Ajtebi said: “This is undoubtedly one of the best Purebred Arabian racehorses in this country and he has shown it again today. I won three on him last year and he has had a nice break since which I think has improved him.

“That was a better National Day Cup than last year and this year he has won it on his seasonal debut. He is a big, heavy horse and will improve fitness-wise so full credit to Majed Al Jahouri and his team.”

He was chased home by Sahib Du Clos, himself seeking a second win in the race, having won it in 2011 for Saifaldin Deeb.

For the second year running Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddled the winner of the Listed Thoroughbred National Day Cup, over the same 1600m as the Purebred Arabian equivalent, for owner, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

However, last year’s winner Derbaas, the choice of he owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, was only second having failed to catch stable companion Nawwaar, given a very positive ride by Royston Ffrench.

Like Areem, the winner made all and Ffrench said: “That was always the plan to jump out and run. Turning in I knew I had most in trouble and he galloped on bravely.

“He was getting tired but I never thought we would be caught and it is a great result for the whole team with first and second. We all work hard and this is why.”

The meeting opened with a 1600m conditions race and Harry Bentley produced AF Al Hazer to lead about 100m out and sprint clear from ten rivals to make it two wins from two starts.

Trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami for owner, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the youngster made a winning debut over 1400m three weeks ago and, able to successfully give weight to his rivals here, looks to be improving.

Bentley said: “That was a good performance and he has relished the nice, fast ground. He should improve again.”

Originally a reserve, the Jaber Bittar-trained Sharaf Al Reef made the most of his late invite to contest the following 1600m maiden with Richard Mullen in the saddle. A smiling jockey said: “I was delighted when they phoned me this morning to say he was in because I knew they thought he had a big chance.

“He did it well and I was confident from a long way out.”

The trainer wasted no time on completing a double, this time with Jesus Rosales partnering Ragdan to a last gasp victory in the 2200m handicap. Settled way off the early pace by Rosales, Ragdan produced a sustained run in the straight to lead close home to deny stable companion Monawer.

Wayne Smith produced a dramatic late surge from Najem S’Heel to snatch victory in the 1000m handicap, just 30 minutes after the jockey and the winner’s trainer, Saifaldin Deeb, had been denied with Sahib Du Clos in the feature.