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Mullen Extends Lead in UAE Jockeys` Championship With Abu Dhabi Victory

Phoot: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

At the end of a hectic four days on the UAE racing calendar, Richard Mullen leads the UAE Jockeys’ Championship with 41 winners, five more than closest rival, Silvestre De Sousa.

Meanwhile de Sousa`s boss, Musabah Al Muhairi has saddled 42 winners in the Trainers` Championship, leaving him three ahead of Doug Watson.

Mullen`s 41st victory of the season came in the featured 1400m handicap, the only Thoroughbred race at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening. The lead changed a number of times with Make It Reel heading Mushir, who had tried to make all, only to denied close home by the fast finishing Royal Revival.

Riding for his main employer, Satish Seemar, Mullen`s mount was winning at Abu Dhabi for a third time this season and second over this 1400m.

“It is great to be topping the table and in with a chance of the title,” said Mullen. “I am very lucky to work for a great team and the horses have been running well all season.

“This fellow loves it here and responded well when I asked him in the home straight.”

Salem Al Ketbi has had his string firing on all cylinders since replacing Ernst Oertel at Al Asayl and his RB Torch made all under Tadhg O’Shea in the best of the Purebred Arabian action, a 1600m handicap.

He has now won three of his four starts, suffering his sole defeat over this course and distance behind his very useful stable companion, Abhaar, in the Listed opening round of the Arabian Tripe Crown.

Jumped straight to the front by O’Shea, he was always bowling along happy before kicked clear early in the straight after which he never looked in any danger.

“We have some nice young horses in the yard and he is one of them,” said O’Shea. “He is still learning about the game but is a very exiting prospect who could be unlucky not to be unbeaten; when he was defeated a horse fell in front of him and he lost vital ground and momentum.

“That said we still won the race with Abhaar who is also very smart.”

Having failed to saddle a winner in his first UAE season during the last campaign, Hardy Hotger has enjoyed a lot more success second time round and won the opening 1400m maiden with Ben Seddiq.

Fitted with blinkers for the first, he stormed clear early in the straight to finally shed his maiden tag at the 17th attempt and provide his trainer’s fifth winner of the season.

It was the handler’s only runner on the card, just as Majd Abu Dhabi has been when winning at Al Ain on Thursday.

“It was probably not a great race but he has won in style,” said De Vries. “He travelled strongly and quickened nicely.”

Having made an impressive winning debut in a 1400m maiden a fortnight ago, AF Mathmoon followed up in similar style in a handicap over the same course and distance.

Trained by Musabah Al Muhairi, he was again ridden by stable jockey, Silvestre De Sousa who sent him about his business on the home turn and they ran on strongly to lead halfway up the straight.

This win took De Sousa within four winners of Mullen, before the Thoroughbred race, but De Sousa clawed the gap back to four with a smooth success on Da’Areen in a 1600m conditions race restricted to fillies and mares.

Majed Al Jahouri trains the winner who won a 1400m course maiden only last week, again under De Sousa and was chased home this time by stable companion, Bibisheena.
“The first win for the filly last week has done her confidence the power of good and she has won this stronger contest well,” said De Sousa. “Hopefully she can build on this.”

Having celebrated doubles at both Jebel Ali on Friday and Meydan’s Super Saturday fixture, this was a 42nd winner this season for the trainer taking him three clear of Doug Watson in the trainer’s table.

“He is a nice young horse, but still a big baby,” said De Sousa. “He has improved from his debut and has done everything we have asked of him. Hopefully there is more to come.”

Oisin Murphy was aboard AK Adour, winner of a 1200m handicap for trainer Ahmed Al Mehairbi, before the finale, a 1200m maiden, saw Royston Ffrench lead right on the line aboard Dameer W’Rsan.

He is trained by Bakit Al Ketbi, as is runner-up Raqqassat W’Rsan who led everywhere bar the post.