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Jockey Rosales Claims Abu Dhabi Feature for Jaber Bittar

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Ameer Denies Naseem in Close Finish

Trainer Jaber Bittar has his team in great form and provided first and third in the featured 1400m handicap at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening with Jesus Rosales steering Ameer Al Reef to a narrow victory from the fast finishing Naseem Al Reef.

The winner’s stable companion, Farooq, had led about 600m out until the final 50m when collared by his stablemate and then denied second in the dying strides.

Rosales had won a course and distance handicap on Ameer Al Reef four weeks ago, the jockey’s only previous victory of the season.

Rosales said: “Again I have to thank everybody at Al Reef Stables for these opportunities and it is a privilege to ride for them. I was always pretty happy and he was finding plenty for pressure close home.”

Paul Hanagan, making his first visit to the capital this season having returned to local action at Jebel Ali on Friday, won the only Thoroughbred race, a 2400m handicap, on the Doug Watson-trained Udabaa.

“It is great to get a nice early winner on only my second day back. Doug had Udabaa perfectly prepped for this and I was always happy just sat off a steady pace. He then quickened, battled and ran all the way to the line.”

It was a great result for Hanagan’s main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who not only owns Udabaa, but runner-up Tanfeeth and the third, Amaan,”

Majed Al Jahouri, who saddled Areem to win the Group 1 National Day Cup for Purebred Arabians last week, supplied the winner of the 2200m conditions race with Raheq holding on grimly under Sam Hitchcott, denying the persistent challenge of Venom who would have been a second winner for Bittar.

It was a second winner of the season for both trainer and jockey and Hitchcott said: “He is a nice horse and the trainer told me to be fairly positive on him. Everything went well in the early part of the race and then the runner-up Venom gave him something to race with in the final 200m.”

Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel saddled a 1-2 in the 1600m handicap, with Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea on winner Nemrah who ran on too strongly for stable companion Richly Blessed, denying Hitchcott a quick double.

O’Shea explained: “It is never easy to pick between two nice fillies and luckily I was on the right one this time. She had the benefit of a previous run this season which probably proved key.”

Young jockey Harry Bentley continues to impress and was seen to good affect on Safir Bainuna, a second career winner for owner and trainer Ahmed Al Mehairbi, in a 1600m conditions race.

Bentley said: “I was pretty confident having finished second on him two starts ago and he just didn’t quite stay last time over further at Sharjah.

“The owner/trainer may not have many horses but he does well with what he has and I rode his first winner at Sharjah earlier this season.”

The opening 1400m maiden was won by Girl Powerr ridden by Xavier Ziani and was a first winner of the season for trainer Jameel Salman. Ziani said: “She deserved to get her head in front as she has been running well in defeat.”