Musabah Al Muhairi Lands Fantastic Four, Ali Rashid Al Raihe Takes Feature Race at First UAE Meeting of 2014

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Dubai World Cup Carnival Kicks Off January 9

Meydan’s first meeting of 2014 saw trainer, Ali Rashid Al Raihe claim the feature and brother-in-law, Musabah Al Muhairi saddle an impressive four winners, yet the most memorable image of the night was the exuberant celebration of jockey, Ian Nienaber, who landed the final race on Paschendale, his first ride in the UAE.

There are four more Racing at Meydan meetings remaining this season but tonight’s races represented the final fixture before the US$37million Dubai World Cup Carnival begins next week on January 9, 2014 and the evening was highlighted by a featured 1600m handicap, claimed easily by the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Ghaamer.

Owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the winner was given a confident ride by stable jockey, Royston Ffrench. Having only his second UAE start, Ghaamer quickened clear about 500m out in a race-winning move by Ffrench and they stormed home to win impressively.

Ffrench said: “He was keen early on and I was a bit worried he would get tired but he kept on well. He disappointed us at Jebel Ali but has shown that effort to be all wrong.

“His home work has always been good since he arrived and it is great to see him produce that kind of level in a race – and a good contest at that. Hopefully he can build on this.”

Trainer and jockey were completing doubles having won the opening 1600m maiden with Waahy who opened his account at the fifth time of asking on his third start in the UAE, having raced twice in Ireland for John Oxx.

Never far off the pace he hit the front 500m out and was always holding off the challenge of old adversary, Shaishee who has now finished behind him three times.

Ffrench said: “He ran very well first time and then probably found 2000m a bit far last time. He should be able to improve on this.”

The other four winners were all trained by Musabah Al Muhairi who registered his 19th victory of the season with Maltese Cat in a 1400m handicap, with William Twiston-Davies partnering his second winner of the campaign. The pair tracked the early speed before committing for home 400m out and never looked likely to be caught.

The young jockey said: “I am really enjoying my time in the UAE and am grateful to everyone involved for this opportunity. We were always travelling well and he then quickened nicely when I asked him to go on and win nicely.”

The trainer wasted little time making it 20 for the season with Thomas Brown producing Jamhoori to lead right on the line in a 1600m handicap, denying stable companion Dairam in a photo finish.

Brown said: “I was unlucky on this horse two starts ago when we just failed to get there so it is great that it worked out this time. Jamhoori really likes running wide and chasing down the straight so I was happy to take my time on him.

“It is just a brilliant experience here in the UAE.”

If that was not enough, the trainer then again supplied first and second in the 1200m handicap with Dane O’Neill and Hattaash holding off the late challenge of the well-fancied Comicality in the 1200m handicap.

Never far off the speed, O’Neill drove Hattaash to the front about 200m out and the pair ran on strongly with the horse opening his local account at the second attempt. O’Neill said: “He ran at Jebel Ali on dirt first time but has much preferred this all-weather surface as we thought he would. He has been working well on it in the mornings and we were quite hopeful.

“The Al Muhairi horses are all running well and that is another great result for the yard.”

He initiated a double for owner Sheikh Hamdan.

Al Muhairi’s quartet was completed by Paschendale, winner of the concluding 1900m handicap and a winning first ride in the UAE for Andrew Nienaber. The rider, who is attached to Mike de Kock’s yard was delighted with his victory on debut.

“That is a great way to start,” he said. “I have to send a big thanks to Musabah al Muhairi and his team. When they gave me the opportunity I grabbed it with both hands and it paid off. When I knew I was coming out here with Mike I decided I might as well get my license and it’s worked out really well so far.”