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Dead-Heat In Group 3 Sprint Denies Thakif Third Consecutive Victory

First Three Home Sent Out From Powerful Sheikh Mansour String

Abu Dhabi’s Sunday card was highlighted by the Group 3 Al Ruwais, a 1000m Purebred Arabian dash and it ended in a dead-heat between Rakha and Sha’Red.

Thakif, who was denied a third consecutive victory in the race under Harry Bentley finished half-a-length away in third. All three are owned by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Trained by Majed Al Jahouri, Rakha, runner-up in the race last year, looked the likely winner 100m out under Silvestre De Sousa, only to be joined right on the line by James Doyle and Sha’Red, a first winner for trainer, Yousif Al Bloushi.

After studying the photo finish, the judge could not separate them and De Sousa said: “I thought I had the race won for a moment but then Sha’Red threw down his challenge and I was worried as we hit the line.

“I was happy with the dead-heat verdict and what a great result for the owner.”

The main support race, the 1600m Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup, produced a similar finish to the main feature and again jockey James Doyle finished fast and late, this time leading on the line on Ragdan.

Trained by Jaber Bittar, he collared stable companion Ameer Al Reef who was seeking a third consecutive victory.

“We were finishing quickly and the line appeared at the right time for us. I knew it was close but thought we had just made it," said Doyle.

A fascinating 1600m conditions race produced an impressive winner in the shape of Sharaf Al Reef ridden by Richard Mullen for trainer, Jaber Bittar. It was a second career win for the horse, with Mullen in the saddle on both occasions.

The jockey said: “This is a nice young horse and progressive. I won a maiden on him two starts ago and he was second in a better contest last time. I think he could be pretty decent and should build on this.”

The first race on the card was a 1400m maiden, won easily by RB Smokin Rich, representing the ever-powerful combination of Ernst Oertel and Tadhg O’Shea, Champion Trainer and Jockey respectively.

Originally the second reserve, the winner claimed his place in the field after two withdrawals and took full advantage.

O’Shea said: “He is a nice horse and, as we saw there, has a good turn of foot. I was pretty hopeful beforehand because his one previous run was full of promise and we knew he had improved a lot.

“Hopefully he has more to offer.”

Local apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei, was in the winner’s enclosure at Meydan on Saturday after the victory of Mutual Force and followed up at Abu Dhabi on Day Breaker, winner of the 1600m handicap for trainer, Ahmed Al Mehairbi.

The meeting concluded with the only Thoroughbred race on the card and Amaan gained a well deserved win for trainer Erwan Charpy with Paul Hanagan in the saddle, riding for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum.

Second on his previous two visits to the capital, and third on the one before that, Charpy’s charge was able to make virtually all the running on this occasion.