Bahraini Trainer Ali Jan Records First Meydan Winner with Fils Anges

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Seemar and Watson Saddle Doubles

Domestic action returned to Meydan Racecourse on Saturday afternoon and it was a great day for Bahrain and trainer Ali Jan who opened his UAE account with the victory of Fils Anges in the featured 1400m Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group Trophy on the turf.

Arguably unlucky on two previous occasions locally, including on his previous start when he and jockey Adrie De Vries were headed close home over 1200m, the galloper made no mistake this time, leading well inside the final 100m.

“Everything went right today, said De Vries, whose timing in the race was spot on. “I was unlucky on this horse on his first local start last year on the all-weather when I could not find a gap when I needed it.

“Last time I thought we had timed it right only to be caught close home. The horse did not relish the dirt on his first two outings this season and is much happier back on turf.

“It is a great result for owner, trainer and Bahrain.”

Trainer Doug Watson and stable jockey, Pat Dobbs are enjoying a fantastic season and combined with Ostaad, one of four runners in the race for the yard, to win an 1800m turf handicap.

With plenty of competition to lead among the maximum field of 16, Dobbs was content to sit just behind the leaders and was clearly travelling well on the home turn.

When a gap appeared he asked his mount to challenge with the duo leading about 300m out and always holding on. It was a first turf victory for the horse who was winning in the UAE for the third time.

“We knew he was in good form and thought he would run well, especially from his low draw,” said Watson. “He won on the Jebel Ali dirt early in the season. He ran twice on turf in England but it is the first time since he arrived here and we were ken to try him on it.

“It looked a very competitive race so we have to be delighted, as we are with the season so far.”

The Red Stables team wasted no time in returning to the winner’s enclosure with the last-gasp victory of State Law who denied gallant stable companion, Famous Warrior, right on the line in a 1600m dirt handicap.

“We thought State Law would be hard to beat but knew Famous Warrior was in good form as well. I thought he would hold on until the last few strides when he was clearly tiring,” said Watson.

“At least I knew we would have the winner from about 100m out.”

That win was Watson’s fifth of the UAE racing weekend.

The opening 1900m dirt maiden was won comfortably by hot favourite Aslan, taken straight to the front by Mickael Barzalona, riding his for his main employer, Salem bin Ghadayer.

Making his local debut, having been placed in four of his seven starts in his native USA, he made no mistake here and always looked the most likely winner.

Asked to go for home at the top of the straight, he quickened away from Arabian Skies and Sooth Al Ssalam and the race was over as a contest.

“He had been working well and we were very hopeful,” said Barzalona. “Obviously it was only a maiden but he has produced all we could have hoped for.”

As comfortably as Aslan won, it was nothing compared to ease with which Satwa Story destroyed his 13 rivals in the following 1200m conditions race on the dirt.

Settled in second until halfway, Mullen let out an inch of rein, gave his mount a kick and they shot clear of Sixty Minutes who had let until this point.

So far clear where they approaching the line, Mullen was able to ease down. In behind, a tiring Sixty Minutes was denied second close home by Dubai Iconic, like the winner trained by Satish Seemar.

“That was pretty impressive,” said Mullen. “We knew we could put a line through his last run when things just did not go to plan but he still ran a good third and the winner won again on Thursday.

“He was beaten by Faulkner previously who is very useful. Hopefully we can sneak him into a Dubai World Cup Carnival race as we think he would be very competitive.”

Mullen and Seemar completed a double with the hard-fought victory of Press Room in the concluding 2000m dirt handicap, securing one happy racegoer the Pick Six prize pot of AED67,000.