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Sheikh Mansour & Al Jahouri Land Seventh Straight Group 1

Cosgrave Steers Musharab to Victory

HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and trainer Majed Al Jahouri maintained their stranglehold on this season’s UAE Group 1 Purebred Arabian contests with Musharab winning the 2200m Emirates Championship, the highlight of Abu Dhabi’s final meeting of the season on Sunday evening, for the second year running.

Ridden to victory by Harry Bentley last year, it was Pat Cosgrave in the saddle this time and it was stable companion, Naseem the mount of Bentley, whom they passed 200m out after which the result was never in doubt.

Cosgrave said: “I was pretty confident a long way out. There was a decent gallop so stamina was always going to be key and my fellow has plenty of that as we know.”

Owner and trainer have now combined to win the season’s first seven Group 1 races for Purebred Arabians with just the Dubai World Cup night’s Kahayla Classic remaining on Saturday March 29.

The Thoroughbred equivalent, the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship over the same 2200m, produced a thrilling finish with Jamr leading in the final strides to deny Mushreq in a photo. Ridden by Adrie De Vries, Jamr was held up in rear, but always seemingly travelling strongly, but still had a lot do as the runners entered the straight.

With 200m to run, the Mike De Kock-trained Mushreq, under Paul Hanagan, looked to have the race settled, hitting the front and opening up a clear advantage, only to be denied virtually on the line by Jamr, a first Group winner for Ahmad bin Harmash in his first season as a trainer.

De Vries said: “It has been a very good season for the yard and I am lucky to be in such a good job. I knew we had a good chance in this and I tracked Mushreq throughout most of the race. Than a gap opened inside, which I took and he then ran on strongly.

“As we crossed the line I knew his head was down and thought we had just made it. Luckily that was the case.”

Ernst Oertel and Tadhg O’Shea, who seem assured of defending their Champion Trainer and Jockey titles respectively, remain in great form.

They combined to win the 2200m UAE Arabian Derby with Nymphea Du Paon, bringing her dramatic season to a perfect conclusion.

A Group 2 winner in her native France, she made a winning local debut in the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship in December. She was then first past the post (subsequently disqualified) in the opening round of the Arabian Triple Crown, before winning the middle leg and awarded the concluding leg by the stewards.

O’Shea said: “She is a lovely filly with an awful lot of ability. She is the best of the four-year-olds in the UAE as she has shown but she has plenty of growing to do.

“Hopefully we will be aiming her at all the big races next season.”

Thirty minutes earlier, O’Shea produced Sheikh Down about 100m out to deny stable companion Gali Rich in a 1600m handicap. Gali Rich and Daniel Muscutt had hit the front 300m out, sweeping past Oertel’s third runner, TM Junior Johnson, but Muscutt’s mount had no answer to the late challenge of Sheikh Down

O’Shea, also leading jockey at Abu Dhabi this season, was presented with a car key by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

He said: “This new car is a nice surprise and it has been a great season both here at Abu Dhabi and the whole season in general. Obviously riding for Ernst and Al Asayl is a big advantage.

“Sheikh Down has been running well all season and deserved another win.”

The meeting opened with a 1400m maiden, won by the Jaber Bittar-trained Hadreej, produced to lead about 100m out by Jesus Rosales and opening his account at the 16th attempt.


Settled in midfield in the early stages of the race, Bittar’s mount made smooth progress 500m out and the pair ran on strongly to deny Dere’A Al Jazeera who looked the likely winner when hitting the front 300m from home.

Rosales said: “They went pretty fast so I was happy to take my time and knew she would be staying on in the straight. We know she stays 1600m well so that early pace in the race really helped us.”

Local apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei continued his good weekend, after victories at Al Ain on Friday and Sharjah on Saturday, when making all on the Ahmed Al Mehairbi-trained Day Breaker in the 1600m conditions race.

The jockey said: “It has been a great three days and a good season. I won on this horse in February and he has fought hard today to win this.”