Cross Grain Enters History Books as First Winner on New Meydan Track

Photo: Erika Rasmussen

Trainer Seemar, Jockey Mullen and Owner Sheikh Juma Register Opening Night Doubles

The first ever race on the Meydan Racecourse dirt, a 1400m maiden, was claimed by the Satish Seemar-trained Cross Grain, making a winning debut under stable jockey, Richard Mullen.

Seemar also supplied the runner-up, Year Of Glory, with stable apprentice, Marc Monaghan in the saddle. The second was never far off the pace whereas Mullen’s mount was in midfield until asked to case the leaders 600m out.

Cross Grain hit the front about 100m from home and won going away to the delight of Seemar.

“He had been working well at home so we were hopeful of a good run and he did it nicely enough and can hopefully improve. The second has run well also and it is the perfect start to our Meydan season.”

The trainer and jockey later doubled up with Genius Step scoring in a 1200m handicap, driven to lead 200m out by Mullen with the horse registering his third win in the UAE. Mullen tracked the speed, always looking confident and asked his mount to chase leader, The Taj about 400m out.

Once passed, The Taj fought back but Mullen’s mount was too good on this occasion.

“This is a horse we have always had high hopes for,” said Mullen. “We have always hoped he might be a Dubai World Cup Carnival horse and it is nice to know he goes on this new surface.

“He will have needed that outing so we have to be delighted.”

Both Seemar’s winners are owned by Sheikh Juma Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum

Arguably the most impressive winner of the night was Storm Belt, ridden by Pat Dobbs and trained by Doug Watson and far too good for stable companion Henry Clay in the featured 1900m handicap.

Watson has always lauded the talent of the winner who was posting his fourth UAE victory, significantly all on dirt.

“We had to take him to Sharjah to get his first two wins and we managed to get his rating up” said Watson. “He has always worked so well at home on dirt we have been looking forward to stepping him up in grade and he also won well at Jebel Ali last season.

“We will have to step him up in class again and we really do like this horse.

“Henry Clay has run a great race also.”

The Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Street Act landed the following 1400m handicap, leading close home under Royston Ffrench to deny Centrifugal, trained by Doug Watson. Last Friday, Watson’s Mizbah denied Street Act a victory at Jebel Ali.

Ffrench said: “This horse ran really well at Jebel Ali last week so we knew he was in good form and would go close. He stays further so the trip was a worry but he really ran on strongly up the straight.”

Last time Silvestre De Sousa was in racenight action at Meydan he was winning the Dubai World Cup and he wasted little time visiting the winner’s enclosure, taking a 1600m handicap on Muhtaram for Musabah Al Muhairi.

Never far off the pace, De Sousa committed his mount for home 500m out and they soon had the race in the bag. Muhtaram was losing his maiden tag in the process on his ninth career start.

De Sousa said: “I was always travelling well and quite happy to be positive on him, as suggested by the trainer. He quickened nicely and I was never worried once we went clear.

“Hopefully the horse can build on this.”

Trainer and jockey completed a double with Shaishee who trounced his nine rivals in the concluding 1400m handicap.