Lost Iron No Barrier for President`s Cup Prep-Winning Jockey

Raaziq (FR)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Raaziq and Nawwaar Claim Arabian and Thoroughbred Warm-Up Races

Abu Dhabi’s Sunday card featured the prep races for HH The President Cups for Purebred Arabian and Thoroughbreds and despite losing an iron on the home turn, Silvestre De Sousa was able to conjure a winning run out of local debutant, Raaziq, in the 2200m Purebred Arabian version.

Trained by Majed Al Jahouri for his main employer, HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it was an impressive start to his UAE career by Raaziq who was held up in virtually last by De Sousa.

With about 1000m to go, it was noticeable that De Sousa was creeping closer on his mount and, on the bend, he asked him to chase the leaders – a manoeuvre that resulted in the jockey losing his left iron.

It proved a minor inconvenience, the pair hitting the front close home.

“I knew I was on a very good horse,” said De Sousa. “I was going very strongly 800m out and we moved into contention effortlessly.

“When I asked him to quicken he did, but I lost my iron and was not going to risk losing that momentum we had. He picked up well and won nicely. He is very decent.”

It was all a lot simpler in the Thoroughbred equivalent, over 1400m, with Dane O’Neill leading virtually all the way on the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Nawwaar, already winner of this year’s 1600m National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi.

Owned by O’Neill’s main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Nawwaar could be called the winner fully 600m out when he was a long way clear of toiling rivals.
O’Neill’s mount tired somewhat in the final 100m but never, at any stage, looked like being caught.

O’Neill explained: “He loves those positive tactics and I certainly was not going to disappoint him. He has skipped over the ground and really enjoyed himself.

“He stays 1600m well so I was happy to be positive over this 200m shorter but I did not expect to win that well.

“HH The President Cup in three weeks is the obvious next step.”

Jockey Jose Santiago doubled his account for the season, partnering the Jaber Bittar-trained debutante, Tahya Al Reef to a smooth success in the opening 1400m maiden.

Having shown her inexperience with a tardy start, Santiago’s mount was soon travelling well in mid division before closing on the leaders as the field swung for home 400m out.

Once asked, she quickened nicely to win well, to the delight of the jockey, a late replacement for Richard Mullen.

“I only knew I was riding her very late on and she has won nicely," said Santiago.

Promising apprentice William Twiston-Davies is on four wins for the season after landing the 1200m handicap aboard Wadi Al Sail for trainer Omar Daraj Mohammed, celebrating his first winner since the 2009/10 season.

“He was quite impressive in the end,” said the jockey. “We were slowly away so I had to take my time but I always thought I was going to get there as he travelled like the best horse in the race. When I asked him, he really quickened.”

There was a sense of déjà vu after the 1600m handicap, won by Sheikh Down, winner of an identical race seven days previously. Trained by Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel, he was again ridden by Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea and the pair led about 100m out, running on strongly to win reasonably comfortably.

O’Shea said: “We had the worst draw in 16 so I had to take my time. He hits a bit of a flat spot midrace but runs on strongly when it matters – as he has done there.

“He stays further so a stamina test at this trip suits him and he has won three this season now, having also won at Sharjah.”

O’Shea later partnered his 11th Abu Dhabi winner of the season aboard the Saifaldin Deeb-trained Najem S’Heel in a second 1200m handicap on the card.