Raahy wins Jebel Ali feature, double delight for Sheikh Hamdan - GulfToday

Raahy wins Jebel Ali feature, double delight for Sheikh Hamdan

Jebel Ali

Raahy, ridden by Adrie de Vries, races towards the finish line to win the 1000m conditions contest at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The third fixture of the Jebel Ali season on Friday afternoon officially featured a 1000m conditions contest for 3-year-olds and it proved the perfect opportunity for Raahy to double his career tally and open his local account in the process.

Ten may have started, but eight were never really able to get involved with Raakezz blazing a trail on the far side rail under Ryan Curatolo and with most of his rivals burned off by halfway. The exception was Raahy who chased the trailblazer under Adrie de Vries, who asked him to throw down a serious challenge entering the final 200m. About 100m later they gained the initiative to score cosily on his first appearance for Jaber Ramadhan and the Have A Luck Syndicate. A winner, over 1000m on fast ground at Lingfield in June last year for George Scott, the Brazen Beau gelding made four UAE appearances for Fawzi Nass earlier this year, arguably highlighted by a fifth place finish, under De Vries, against his elders in a handicap over this Jebel Ali 1000m on his dirt debut in February.

Ramadhan said: “We were keen to get Adrie who rode the horse for Fawzi Nass and is of course a very good jockey. That was very pleasing.”

De Vries added: “He was a horse I know well and ran some good races against older horses last season, so back in his age group and over this trip we thought would really suit him.”

The meeting kicked off with a 1400m maiden for which only six went to post and the race developed into a duel over the final 300m between the two runners owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE’s Minister of finance. It was at about that point that Pat Dobbs hit the front on Masaali, saddled by his main employer Doug Watson, with Dane O’Neill, retained by the owner, almost immediately challenging Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s Al Hadeer. The latter appeared briefly to draw level, but Dobbs’ mount pulled away in the final 50m, the 4-year-old Hard Spun gelding fulfilling the promise of his debut when third, over the same course and distance, a month ago.

Watson said: “We have actually had him a couple of years, but he has had a few problems and we have had to be patient with him. We have always liked him though and were very pleased with his debut, so we thought he had a nice chance today and so it proved.”

Dobbs added: “He is a lovely horse who has done that well today despite still being inexperienced and should improve on that.”

Sheikh Hamdan’s world famous blue and white silks were then again first and second in the following 1400m handicap, O’Neill choosing correctly this time, combining with Rayhi to land the spoils aboard Almoreb, the pair running on too strongly for the same owner’s Fawaareq, partnered by Sam Hitchcott for Watson. Settled in fourth of the eight runners, always travelling strongly for O’Neill, Almoreb sauntered to the front 400m from home and always looked to have matters in hand thereafter. A 6-year-old gelded son of Raven’s Pass, it was a fourth career success, but first since leaving Richard Hannon in Britain and making his local debut in March 2019. That said, his previous 11 UAE outings had included finishing both second and third on three occasions, so the victory was somewhat overdue.

O’Neill, who only had the two rides on the card, said: “He deserved to get his head in front after some good, solid efforts and I was always going well. He then quickened nicely and I was probably in front plenty soon enough, but I did not want to waste the gap when it appeared.”

Kuwaiti handler Rashed Bouresly struck with his very first runner of the season, getting his campaign off to the perfect, albeit belated, start with the comfortable success of Imprison in a 1200m handicap. Previously a maiden after 15 starts, all in the UAE for Bouresly, the 7-year-old Sea The Stars gelding chased the early speed under Fabrice Veron before sweeping past Iftitah with about 150m remaining, after which the race was basically over as a contest. Previously twice second, including over 1400m here at Jebel Ali, his other career placing before this was a third over the track and trip of this victory. Both those course efforts were in January 2018 and he was also runner-up, over 1600m, on dirt at Meydan in April 2019.

Veron said: “In fairness to connections they were pretty confident of a big run and that has proved to be the case. He quickened nicely when I asked and then ran on very strongly, but I expected that because we know he stays further.”

After two withdrawals at the start, just five 2-year-olds went to post for a 1000m maiden, won last year by Raakezz, but it produced a thrilling contest nonetheless. Approaching the final 275m, the whole quintet was separated by less than a length before early leader Tahdeed was collared by Uncle Hamed, seeking to complete a double for Messrs Watson and Dobbs. Dobbs’ mount was immediately challenged by Richard Mullen aboard Cross The Ocean, one of three in the race owned by Elbashir Salem Elhrari. With Tahdeed fighting back, Mullen’s horse hit the front only for Uncle Hamed to throw down one final challenge which narrowly failed by just a nose. A Frosted colt, the winner was the costliest runner in the field, having been purchased by connections in June of this year at Ocala for $90,000.

Seemar said: “It was an exciting race and new experience for these young horses because we cannot bring them here for a gallop at the moment, so when they hit the hill, you never really know what might happen.

The trainer added: “He is a very nice physical specimen as you can see and he has shown us plenty of ability at home, so I am delighted for the owner and whole team.”

Watson and Dobbs were again then denied in the finale, a 1950m handicap, their Rougher pounced upon by Fernando Jara and Sa’Ada who led 400m out and powered up the hill. Something of a rarity in the UAE in that she is a 5-year-old Thoroughbred mare, the winner’s only previous success, in 20 attempts, was over 1600m on the Abu Dhabi turf in January 2019.

As with Jaber Ramadhan earlier, Ahmad Bin Harmash was opening his seasonal tally, in his case saddling his first winner for 378 days.

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