By Duane Fonseca
Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, trainer Eric Lemartinel and jockey Fabrice Veron claimed doubles at Abu Dhabi last night, with the French duo winning both feature races on the six-race card.
The evening got underway with a 2400m handicap, the only Thoroughbred contest that had been pencilled in for the night and was won by Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen with Recordman.
Ridden in mid-division, Mullen woke Recordman 600m out and got him in fine form to seize the initiative from Erwan Charpy’s Fabrice Veron-ridden Zamaam with 200m left and run on to win by three fourths of a length. Charpy had a 2-3 in the race with Mudaarab running in next, a head behind his Shadwell teammate.
Defending UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea made it 13 wins for the season when riding the Ernst Oertel trained AF Taraha to a second victory this season. Ridden clear 450m out, AF Taraha was chased by the Khalifa Al Neyadi trained and Royston Ffrench ridden AF Al Mehleb, who could only reduce the lead to two and a quarter lengths at the post. Snaafy, trained by Mohammed Ramadan and ridden by Sandro Paiva, placed third a further length and a quarter in arrears.
Lemartinel and Veron both feature events on the card. The Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic and its corresponding Colts event carried the ‘PA Prestige’ tag and were run over a 1400m trip and Veron brought home Dhafra and Maqam in their respective events well clear of the rest of the field.
In what was her third win in as many starts, Dhafra kicked clear with 300m left to finish four and a quarter lengths clear of Sahaba on the line, with Marzaga taking third by a head.
Maqam provided a display of his versatility when winning in near identical fashion on turf after winning his previous run on dirt at Sharjah on 9 November. At Abu Dhabi, he left the rest of his rivals behind 200m out and ran on well to win by three and a quarter lengths from Alazoum with ES Jalmud a short head behind in third.
Al Naboodah’s double on the night was completed in the penultimate race which was won by the Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained and Fernando Jara-ridden AF Momtaz who was three fourths of a length clear of Morjanah Al Reef with Jawal Al Reef a neck behind in third.
Pat Cosgrave and Abdullah Al Hammadi won the final race on the card, a 1600m maiden for Purebred Arabians, which also turned out to be the most keenly fought affair of the evening. Riding Optimizm, Cosgrave got into the mix in the home stretch and under his constant urgings the 4yo filly claimed victory by a neck with the final strides from AF Almajhaz with Nazaa running in third.