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Al Zahir retains The President Cup crown
February 12, 2019
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ABU DHABI: Sunday’s meeting at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, one of the biggest of the season in the Capital, was highlighted by the 2200m Dhs2,500,000 Group 1 HH The President Cup for Purebred Arabians.

Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Dubai-based Al Zahir was able to become the fourth horse to win the race more than once, defending the crown he first wore 12 months ago and defeating France’s Al Shamoos, winning of November’s rich Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jew Crown (G1).

Retained by owner UAE Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Jim Crowley was in the saddle on the winner once again as the made the winning move with 750m remaining and ultimately outstayed the aforementioned mare.

“It was fantastic to see him bounce back like that because, as we know, he won this last year and the other big race, but this season had been disappointing. We put the blinkers on for the first time today and they have really helped.

“I was happy to go for home a long way out, because he stays very well and the French filly was unproven over this far, but she has run a very good race behind us.”

The only Thoroughbred race on the card was their equivalent, the 1400m Listed HH The President Cup and when Zainhom, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, hit the front with less than 200m to run it appeared, briefly, as though owner and jockey would complete a memorable double.

However, Harry Bentley had been making relentless smooth progress aboard Legendary Lunch since the 14 runners had left the back straight and, challenging widest of all, struck the front 100m from home to snatch the spoils. Wasim, never far off the pace, denied Zainhom second close home.

Riding for trainer Fawzi Nass, Bentley said: “He was a course and distance winner with very solid form, so I just tried replicate the tactics of that victory by taking my time and coming wide which obviously really suit him.”

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