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Madjanthat Victory Highlights Al Ketbi Treble at Al Ain

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Only six went to post for the featured 1600m handicap but it produced a thrilling finish with Madjanthat under Richard Mullen, denying Safir Bainuna in the dying strides.

Ridden by Harry Bentley, the runner-up had only led about 100m out having headed Sheikh Down who fought back gamely. Any of the three could have prevailed but it was Mullen’s who gained the day.

“It was a nice spare ride,” said Mullen. “He was gelded over the summer but is still a real handful and a proper character. I could not get him interested early on so switched him in behind Harry’s horse as I could see he was going well.

“When I switched him out again he picked up nicely.”

He is trained by Salem Al Ketbi, as is Rabdan, winner of the opening 2000m handicap under Tadhg O’Shea and losing his maiden tag in the processs. Having only his fourth start ad second locally, the only four-year-old in the race belied his inexperience and looks sure to improve.

Pushed along at halfway, he chased the leaders entering the straight before quickening to lead 200m from home.

“He is a nice young horse who had been working well,” said O’Shea. “We thought he would go close today and we would like to think there is more to come. He has handled the dirt really well but should go on turf as well.”

The trainer promptly completed a treble with Pat Dobbs in the saddle on this occasion aboard Bashayer in the 1400m handicap. Never far off the pace, they went to the front 300m out and were always holding off the challenge of stable companion, Irena, and eventual runner-up, Barasti.

Paul Hanagan, riding for his man employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Musabah Al Muhairi rode his first winner since returning from injury last week, when Alameer led close home in a 1400m handicap to deny Knife.

The finish was an exact replica of an identical course and distance contest three weeks earlier.

“Obviously it is nice to get a winner, especially for the boss,” said Hanagan. “I thought I was in trouble at one stage as he was not the fastest away and I was in traffic.

“Once we found racing room though he has run on well. The second was brave and not easy to pass but I was confident 100m out we would get there.

“It’s great to be back in action.”

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, the concluding 1000m handicap, was won by Sixty Minutes who denied stable companion Conform With Fact. Royston Ffrench rode the winner who was completing a double for Al Muhairi.

The 1800m maiden was won comfortably by Mahdi who could be called the winner a long way out under Silvestre De Sousa with the pair travelling really strongly throughout the race.

When long time leader, JAP Fattan cried enough at the top of the straight, De Sousa set sail for home and the pair were soon clear.

“He had the best form coming into the race and was always travelling best of all. I was happy to go for home when the other horse dropped away and he ran all the way to the line for me.”

He is trained by Ahmed Al Mehairbi.