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Mundahesh Lowers Course Record to Claim Dh105,000 Racing at Meydan Feature Saturday

Mundahesh (IRE)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Paul Hanagan Rides Winning Double for Top Owner, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, combined to win both turf races at Meydan on Saturday, highlighted by the record-breaking success of Mundahesh in the featured 1400m Swaidan Trading Heavy Equipment Division Trophy Handicap.

It was a comfortable victory, the horse’s third in the UAE and first local attempt on turf, which lowered the track record set in 2011 by the Ed Marnane-trained Dandy Boy by one-hundredth-of-a-second to a new mark of 1:23.11. Mundahesh’s win marked a second victory on the night for trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe, who had earlier tasted success with Mutual Force.

Hanagan took his time in rear before unleashing his mount down the centre of the track to win with ease.

Hanagan explained: “We always thought a lot of this horse in England when things rarely went right for him but these Meydan races are run at a good gallop which really suits him.

“He can hopefully build on this and seems to be improving.”

Hanagan also found himself in the winner’s enclosure when Almoonqith, trained by Mike de Kock, landed the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group Trophy over 1800m of the turf.

South African De Kock, fresh from a Dubai World Cup Carnival double on Thursday, has his team in rude health and Almoonqith was an impressive winner.

Hanagan was happy to hide his mount away near the rear of the pack, before pulling him out wide in the straight and asking him to chase the leaders. The response was impressive and the pair accelerated past rivals, leading 200m out and running on strongly.

Hanagan explained: “We were delighted with him a fortnight ago when sixth on his local debut. We knew he needed that and had improved so were pretty hopeful.

“I wanted to avoid any trouble so was happy to pull wide as I knew he would quicken.”

For the second year running the Satish Seemar-trained Al Razi landed the 1200m all-weather Swaidan Trading Agriculture and Pest Control Division Trophy Handicap under stable apprentice, Marc Monagahn. The pair collared stable companion, Glenleven about 100m out and held on well from the late challenge of Brazen.

Monaghan said: “He has a nice turn of foot, as he showed there, but I was conscious that I did not want to hit the front too soon. We won this race last year so we knew these conditions really suit him and, when challenged, he fought well.”

The trainer went on to complete a double with the last-gasp success of Filfil in the concluding 1600m all-weather handicap. Slowly away, the pair were virtually last turning for home but ran on strongly to deny the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained pair Jamhoori and Dairam in the very last stride.

Winning jockey Pat Cosgrave said: “They went so fast early on we struggled to lay up but he picked up nicely in the straight. As we hit the line I thought we had just made it.”

The opening 1400m maiden, on the all-weather was won in great style by Zurbriggen, making his local debut a winning one with Adrie De Vries aboard for his main employer, Ahmad bin Harmash.

Settled well off the early speed, De Vries eased his mount into contention 300m out and the hit the front with 100m to go, running away at the end from long-time leader, Bustopher, trained by Charlie Appleby.

De Vries said: “That was impressive as it looked a good maiden. He did it well and can only improve”

Local apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei and Mutual Force, trained by Al Raihe, registered their fourth UAE victory together with a hard fought success in a 2000m handicap on the all-weather, the second winner of the night for Al raihe who also had success with .

A delighted young jockey said: “That was hard work but he stuck his next out gamely and we were in front where it mattered. He is a real favourite horse of mine.”