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Al Ain Feature Goes to Ffrench and Al Jahouri

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Ghalib lands Al Ain Feature for Ffrench and Jahouri

Ghalib won the featured 1600m Conditions race at Al Ain Racecourse’s second meeting of the season on Friday afternoon, under a power packed finish from Royston Ffrench.

One of the first off the bit, the Majed Al Jahouri-trained runner took a long while to get going but Ffrench was able to get a sustained finish out of him, the pair leading close home to deny Haajeb.

“He won a similar race here last season on the previous all-weather surface and that was over 1800m so stamina was always going to be his forte here,” said Ffrench, “He was outpaced early on but has run strongly all the way to the line.

“This is always a great yard to ride for.”

Both first and second are owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the runner-up trained by Yousif Al Bloushi.

Silvestre De Sousa, the new stable jockey to Musabah Al Muhairi, rode a winner for his new boss, landing the only Thoroughbred race, a 1400m handicap on Maltese Cat.

Al Muhairi also supplied the runner-up in the shape of Mooqtar.

De Sousa always looked to be travelling well behind the fast early pace and eased his mount to the front halfway up the long straight.

They soon put daylight between themselves and nine rivals.

De Sousa said: “He has won that well as it looked competitive beforehand. I am looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The meeting concluded with a competitive 1000m sprint handicap with De Sousa completing a double aboard Ubu Al Mels, saddled by Mohd Ramadan.

Trainer Helal Al Alawi also saddled a 1-2 with Alizee Du Bibal, under George Buckell, denying Tadhg O’Shea and stable companion, Mazaha, in a photo finish to the 1400m maiden for fillies and mares.

Buckell’s mount had a nose to spare on the line, having led early in the straight only to be challenged in the dying strides by the runner-up.

Buckell said: “He hung on grimly and responded well when I had to ask him for a final effort near the line.”

Having enjoyed a Meydan Racecourse treble on Thursday evening, Richard Mullen wasted no time adding to his seasonal tally, landing the opening 1600m handicap on Sabbaq.

Trained by Jaber Bittar, Mullen’s mount was not the fastest into stride and was taken wide by his jockey very early. Widest of all, and under pressure, turning for home, Sabbaq produced a steady run down the long straight.

The pair hit the front close home to deny Tadhg O’Shea on Al Yawazi.

Mullen said: “The Bittar yard are in good form and they seemed pretty hopeful.

“My season has started really well and hopefully it can continue.”

Xavier Xiani was aboard MH Lazzaz for trainer Elise Jeanne when the pair landed the penultimate race, a 1400m handicap. The winner was losing his maiden tag at the 22nd attempt.

Jeanne said: “We are only a small yard so we are pleased with our two winners so far this season. We were hoping for a good run as he has pleased in both his previous starts this year.”