Apprentice Muscutt Lands Oertel Double on Final Racing at Meydan Card

Touch Gold (IRE)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Meydan Racecourse to Host Dubai World Cup in 16 Days

Apprentice Daniel Muscutt rode Touch Gold to a fourth victory for the season on a Racing at Meydan night in which he landed a winning double for UAE Champion trainer, Ernst Oertel.

Meydan Racecourse was hosting its penultimate meeting of the season on Thursday evening, representing the final fixture before the Dubai World Cup in just over two weeks time.

Three trainers and two jockeys enjoyed doubles on the six-race all-weather card.

Muscutt was due to have gone back to England after last Sunday’s Abu Dhabi meeting but when he found out the Ernst Oertel-trained Touch Gold, on whom he had won for a third time this season at Jebel Ali last Friday, was due to run at Meydan Racecourse, he decided to stay.

His decision was vindicated when the pair made all in a 1200m handicap, one of the joint features of the night. It looked a competitive heat beforehand but Touch Gold made it look easy, adding two Jebel Ali wins and a 1600m Meydan victory in January.

Muscutt said: “This horse has been brilliant for me this season and when I found out he was going to run here this evening I knew I needed to stay. He has been winning over further but he has such a high cruising speed I was not worried by the drop to 1200m.

“It has been a great experience in the UAE this season and, again, I have to thank Mr Oertel and the owners for this fantastic opportunity.”
Muscutt later completed a double for himself and Oertel, now surely guaranteed to retain his Champion Trainer’s crown, with Malekov who won the concluding 2200m handicap.

Adrie De Vries and rookie trainer, Ahmad bin Harmash, who has enjoyed a great first season with a licence, were also in double form.

Ducab, winner of his only previous all-weather start, in a 1900m handicap on his penultimate start, followed up over the same course and distance in the style of a progressive performer.

Twice defeated on turf since arriving in the UAE, Bin Harmash’s charge looks a totally different prospect on this all-weather surface and was given a confident ride by De Vries. Held up well off the early speed, De Vries pulled his mount out to challenge in the straight and the pair hit the front just over 200m out, surging clear to win in style.

De Vries said: “This horse just seems to love this surface. I was always going well and was happy to pull around rivals to guarantee a clear run. That was a good win and hopefully he can progress next season.”

Not for the first time at Meydan Racecourse this season, Dutch jockey, De Vries, was again at is ultra confident best when landing the 1600m handicap on Ghost Army, also trained by Bin Harmash.

The winner of a 2200m Meydan maiden on his previous outing, Ghost Army was clearly not inconvenienced by the drop in trip and, having been held up by De Vries, the pair made smooth progress on the home turn.

De Vries was content to bide his time before, sensing a winning opportunity, found a gap 200m out when the pair hit the front and settled matters in a few strides.
De Vries said: “We have some nice new horses this season and this is one of them. He won well over a lot further last time so stamina was never an issue.
“Hopefully he is improving.”

The meeting opened with a 1600m maiden and it provided the perfect opportunity for the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Expert Answer to open his account at the second attempt, having only made his racecourse debut at Jebel Ali last Friday.

Stable jockey, Royston Ffrench, was in the saddle and settled his mount in midfield. As the field swung for home, Ffrench closed on the leaders but had to wait for a gap before he was able to commit for home. When they were in the clear, Expert Answer quickened well and sprinted clear of Year of Glory, denied second close home by Sooth Al Ssalam.

French said: “That was only his second run and he can only improve but he still has a lot to learn. Once I found racing room in the straight I was always in control.”

Al Raihe completed a double with the smooth success of Ghaamer in a 1400m handicap with Dane O’Neill committing his mount for home at the top of the straight and the pair soon opened up a decisive lead.

O’Neill said: “He won here over 1600m four starts ago so I was confident, if I could grab a break on the others, he would gallop all the way to the line.
“He picked up nicely off the turn and I don’t think we were ever in danger afterwards.”

All six races were on the all-weather.