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Areem Leads Home Sheikh Mansour 1-2-3 in Group 1 Abu Dhabi Feature

Areem (FR)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

De Sousa Lands Fifth Win of Busy Racing Weekend in Liwa Oasis

Owner HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and trainer Majed Al Jahouri always looked to hold all the aces in the Group 1 Liwa Oasis at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, and so it proved with their Areem leading home a memorable 1-2-3 in the 1400m feature.

Winner of the 1600m National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi in each of the last two seasons, as well as the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan last year, Areem was second in this race 12 months ago when caught close home by stable companion Rakha.

This year, under Silvestre De Sousa, he proved far too good for Rakha, who finished second, himself nicely clear of the connections’ third runner, Sardan. Areem, who made all, also broke the track record, previously set last year by in this race by Rakha.

De Sousa, who landed four wins during the Meydan double header over the weekend said: “He is undoubtedly a very good horse and I think he is still improving. At no stage was I remotely concerned and we have broken the track record virtually on the bridle – we certainly could have recorded a quicker time.

“He is a bit special over this kind of trip and loves Abu Dhabi. What a great result for the owner and trainer.”

Al Jahouri added: “We always said it would be National Day Cup, Al Maktoum Challenge I and this race for him this season. He has won two of them so we have to be happy and it will be a similar campaign next year.”

A double for Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, surely guarantees he will retain his crown and, with both his winners saddled by reigning Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel, there must be a very good chance both will again lift their respective titles.

Their brace was highlighted by the victory of Nymphea Du Paon in the main support race on the card, the third and final leg of the Arabian Triple Crown, but the success in the Group 3 contest was certainly not without drama.

Having led from the outset, O’Shea’s mount was challenged by Swwing about 400m out and the pair were locked in battle throughout the straight with Swwing hanging badly. O’Shea was forced to take a check, allowing Swwing to get ahead, before Nymphea Du Paon fought back to regain the initiative, only to be headed again by Swwing who passed the post narrowly in front.

However, after lengthy deliberation, the stewards reversed the placings and awarded Nymphea Du Paon, winner of the middle round last week and first past the post (but subsequently disqualified) in the opening round, the race.

Oertel said: “I think justice has been done and the stewards have made the right decision. That interference certainly disrupted her rhythm and momentum which, because she is basically a long striding filly, proved crucial.”

“She is a real star and we plan to bring her back for the UAE Arabian Derby in two weeks.”

The meeting opened with a 1400m maiden and Dormilon initiated their double with a hard fought victory. Having led in the very early stages, O’Shea was then content to allow Lahaan and ES Yaka’A to contest the lead, before regaining the initiative 400m out.

O’Shea’s mount ran on gamely and had enough left to withstand the late challenges of Hadreej and Majd Abu Dhabi.

After his double, Oertel joins Musabah Al Muhairi on 31 winners but leads the title chase having saddled more seconds.

Ted Durcan and Eric Lemartinel, the unfortunate jockey and trainer combination of Swwing, had earlier combined to land a 1600m conditions race with Naseem Al Reef.

Lemartinel went on to complete a double with apprentice Noel Garbutt aboard AF Asefah who lost his maiden tag at the tenth attempt in a 1000m handicap.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, the concluding 2200m maiden, went to the Ismail Mohamed-trained Covert Desire who made virtually all under Harry Bentley.