By Duane Fonseca
Antonio Fresu leapt up to top spot in the UAE Champion Jockeys race after a brace of wins at Al Ain Friday for Musabbeh Al Mheiri made it 18 wins for the season for the Italian rider, who is now one ahead of defending champion Tadhg O’Shea.
The pair made it a quick double when winning the first two contests on the seven race card, which included the only Thoroughbred affair where California Jumbo’s late turn of foot saw him fly to the finish over the last 100m for a three fourths length victory over Ahmad bin Harmash’s Pat Cosgrave ridden Hucklebuck, who in turn was two and a quarter lengths in front of Helal Al Alawi’s Serengeti Sky, who was headed 200m from home.
Fresu and Al Mheiri opened with victory in the Wathba Stallions Cup (Pvt Owners race) over 1800m where Prado Du Panjshir stole the lead from Ernst Oertel’s AF Al Baher to win by a neck on the line with stablemate AF Tathoor third a further four and a quarter lengths behind under Sean Kirrane.
Abu Dhabi based handler Ana Mendez was the next to strike with Saarookh, who edged Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Onward by a short head in the 2000m handicap when in the hands of Jesus Rosales, who claimed his third winner of the season. Rosales left it late going to the front in the final 50m with Saarookh running on well thereafter to take a narrow win. In third place, a length and a half behind, was Ahmed Al Mehairbi’s Richard Mullen ridden Somoud.
Trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami enjoyed a 1-2 in the 1800m maiden that followed with Szczepan Mazur bringing SS Dostoor a length and a quarter ahead of stablemate Alsaeid with Sandro Paiva in the saddle. A further two and a half lengths in arrears was Mendez’s Barakat Al Wathba with Saif Al Balushi aboard.
Mullen a winner on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan on Thursday won the 1600m maiden with Jean De Roualle’s Musheer Al Wathba, who romped to a seven and a half length success over teammate Rahaal Al Wathba, trained by Mendez and ridden by Noel Garbutt. Al Alawi’s Mihwal was a further 10 and a quarter lengths behind in third.
Erwan Charpy and Dane O’Neill combined to land the penultimate race of the card, a 1400m handicap with Ainhoa Topchef, who won by a comfortable four and a quarter lengths from Al Hadhrami’s Arif with Garbutt in the saddle. A head behind in third was stable companion Pharitz Oubai the ride of Mazur.
Ibrahim Aseel and Sam Hitchcott were the last trainer jockey pair to win claiming the 1000m maiden that brought the card to a close with Gold Silver, who ran home a whopping five and a quarter lengths ahead of Al Hadhrami’s Mazur ridden Farrar. A further four lengths behind was AF Gharad, for Saeed Al Shamsi and Al Balushi.