By Duane Fonseca
France reigned supreme in the UAE President Cup (UK Arabian Derby) race at Doncaster on Saturday with trainer Thomas Fourcy and jockey Olivier Peslier combining to land the Purebred Arabian Group 1 contest with Abbes.
The 2000m contest was part of the Cazoo St Leger Festival card and helped the Fourcy-schooled 4yo TM Fred Texas colt to atone for his runner-up placing in the French Arabian Derby in June.
Eight went to post and Peslier guided Abbes expertly despite the pair breaking poorly and racing at the back of the field. They managed to keep pace as Philip Collington’s Khateer, one of five Shadwell runners in the field, dictated terms in the hands of Ray Dawson. Abbes and Peslier started to make progress 600m out and were second with 400m left to race. The momentum was with the pair and they soon broke away to increase their lead with every stride eventually winning with four and a half lengths to spare from fellow French traveler Arion, trained by Elizabeth bernard and ridden by Jean-Bernard Eyquem.
A further nine and a half lengths back in third was Collington trained Alajab with Dane O’Neill up. Khateer faded to finish seventh.
Fourcy commented: “Abbes is a good horse, but he is very laid back. He had a good race, even if he was a bit too relaxed at the beginning. He likes to come through horses to gain his motivation and Olivier Peslier knows that’s how to ride him. They probably went to the front too early, but he won thanks to his class, he will head to the Qatar Arabian World Cup in October and then the HH The Amir Sword.”
Winning rider Peslier added: “The horse has now won a Group 1 but has always had a lot of ability. Today it was a good race, he responded to my hands, but he still needs more experience, it will be good preparation for Longchamp.”
Faisal Al Rahmani, Event Manager for the UAE President Cup commented: “We are happy to see the crowds back on the racecourse, today I met many owners from England and also from Ireland, that are interested in Arabian horses. We hope that these people will spread the word and bring more new people into the sport.
“I’m very pleased with how this year’s UAE President Cup series is going, we have many followers all around the world. Every race produces a star, just like Abbes today. We need to keep this momentum going and hope to encourage more breeding of Arabian racehorses which is part of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At the end of the year we will look to see what we can do with ARO and hopefully we may be able to support more races next year in the UK.”
ARO Commercial and Finance Director Genny Haynes added: “ARO congratulates the connections of Abbes on a superb win today. It has been a challenge to support international racing this season and ARO is proud to have been able to ensure it has taken place.
“We continue to be extremely grateful to the UAE President Cup Series for their support of our feature race for 4yos and to Doncaster racecourse for their support of our racing. We also thank the British Horseracing Authority for their assistance this season, particularly with our international runners.”