National Day Record For Selvaratnam At Abu Dhabi

Forjatt powers home in National Day Cup
Photo: Erika Rasmussen

Forjatt and Areem star on feature night

Forjatt provided trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam with a record fifth success in the 1600m Listed National Cup at Abu Dhabi on Sunday when he followed up his victory in the official prep three weeks ago by winning the real thing.

It was the fourth time the Jebel Ali based handler had trained the winner of the first major thoroughbred race of the season for his main patron HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The owner’s famous yellow silks were also being carried to victory in the contest for a fifth occasion though for winning jockey Chris Hayes it was a first success in the race at the first attempt.

A great servant to connections, Forjatt has also finished ‘first past the post’ on two occasions in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile but was disqualified last season when testing positive for a banned substance.

On a horse who always travels strongly, Hayes was content to bide his time until the runners swung for home. Mindful though that his mount needs to be produced late, it was only in the final 300m he asked for maximum effort.

They hit the front with less than 100m left and were always going to prevail.

“When we won the prep we hit the front a bit too soon so I wanted to wait as long as possible,” said Hayes. “The way he has stayed on tonight I would actually be quite keen to try him over a bit further.
“He is a great horse to have in the yard as he is so versatile with big wins here and at Jebel Ali.
“This is my first UAE season and to ride a big race winner for Sheikh Ahmed and Dhruba is brilliant.”

Forjatt had finsihed third in the National Day Cup in 2013.

Areem was far too good for his ten rivals in the Group 3 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, for Purebred Arabians, over the same 1600m course and distance.
The now seven-year old winner of the Group 1 National Day Cup (renamed this year as Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown) in both 2012 and 2013, as well as finishing second in the race last year made virtually every yard of the running under Richard Mullen.

Showing all his old verve and dash, Mullen’s mount always looked to be going best of all bowling along in front before putting distance between himself and the rest on the final bend.

With the remainder toiling, Areem was never going to be caught to the visible delight of his trainer Nacer Samiri celebrating his first big race winner in the UAE.

When winning the prep for this race three weeks ago, Areem became the first winner to sport the silks of owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mansour Al Nahyan.

“He loves to jump out in front and put the opposition to the sword,” said Mullen. “He is obviously not as young as he was but he loves it around here and was always going strongly for me and he just galloped all the way to the line.
“It is great to ride a winner for young Sheikh Hamdan bin Mansour who now has two wins from two runs to his name.
“I am just grateful for such a quality spare ride and must thank Wayne Smith for putting my name forward.”

Smith, aboard Areem in the prep, elected to ride Thakif for the same trainer. The 2014 National Day Cup winner, who appeared well placed under the conditions, dissapointed trailing home in fifth.

The first half of the card was totally dominated by owner and breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda with his colours carried to victory three times.

Ernst Oertel won two maidens at Sharjah on Saturday with horses owned and bred by the Al Nabooda and they were celebrating further success together after AF Laja won the opening 1400m maiden.

Having only her second start, AF Laja had shown plenty of dash before finishing, ultimately, well beaten over the same course and distance three weeks ago.

Apprentice Manuel Fernandes was in the saddle on that occasion but replaced here by David Probert whose mount had her race won turning for home.

Soon in front, AF Laja bounded clear in the straight to record a straightforward success.

“She did it nicely,” said Probert. “I was actually surprised how far clear we were when we crossed the line.
“It is my first season in the UAE and it is great to be here and a wonderful experience.”

Owner and trainer did not have to wait long to complete another brace in partnership, combining with debutant, like both their Sharjah winners, a homebred son of AF Al Buraq.

The intended mount of Fernandes, who became indisposed earlier in the day, he ended up a chance spare ride for fellow apprentice George Buckell, who only found out during the afternoon he was riding the colt.

Always prominent in the 1600m conditions contest AF La’Asae produced a decent turn of foot early in the straight soon putting the race to bed.

“My agent phoned me just before I left for the races,” explained Buckell. “It was a nice spare to pick up, especially with the Oertel team in such good form.
“I was always happy and he quickened nicely when I asked him.”

The Al Nabooda bandwagon was relentless with his AF Mathmoon making it three wins from as many career starts with an easy victory in a 1600m handicap.

Another also bred by his owner and always in the firing line, AF Mathmoon was returning to action having won both his outings last season over 1400m at Abu Dhabi in style.

Trained by Musabah Al Muhairi he was even more impressive this time with stable jockey Fernando Jara clearly taken by the performance.

“He is a very nice horse,” enthused Jara. “I really liked everything he has done tonight as we went pretty quick but he just kept on going.
“Hopefully he has more to offer and he is a nice prospect.”

Oertel later went on to complete a treble of his own with the unfortunate Fernandes missing another winner, this time aboard Madjanthis in a 1200m handicap.

Apprentice Robbie Fitzpatrick, riding his first UAE winner at the eighth attempt, was the lucky recipient of a winning opportunity on this occasion.