By Duane Fonseca
Brazilian rider Bernardo Pinheiro claimed a first Group success in the UAE when powering home Thursday night on the back of Khalifa Al Neyadi’s Jayide Al Boraq in the Group 2 Bani Yas, which was the only Purebred Arabian affair and the feature event of a seven race Meydan card.
Pinhero, 24, earned the chance after Eric Lemartinel’s race favourite for the 1400m contest, RB Money To Burn, weakened in the final 100m after doing most of the running under Fabrice Veron. But credit goes to the hard-riding Pinheiro, who refused to throw in the towel aboard the 6yo son of Burning Sand, who was looking for a fourth straight success and seventh overall win in nine career starts.
And as RB Money To Burn started to tire, Jayide Al Boraq capitalised with a late burst to win by a length and three fourths. A further three and a half lengths back in third behind RB Money To Burn was Ernst Oertel’s AF Alwajel with Tadhg O’Shea up.
Pat Dobbs rebounded from injury to win the 2yo fillies' maiden for Doug Watson with Super Chianti, the favourite in the 1200m affair.
Settled in the rear of the field after breaking, Dobbs got the daughter of Super Saver to pick up at the 600m marker and with 300m left to run she was at the front of the five runner field.
Dobbs took his foot off the gas closer to the finish, which allowed Nicholas Bachalard’s Ryan Curatolo ridden Nayefah to cut the deficit to three fourths of a length. In third, a further length and a half in arrears, was Heshmah, also trained by Watson, with Richard Mullen up.
Watson completed his double in the 1400m handicap with Mayadeen, who was ridden by owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s retained rider Dane O’Neill. Finishing a strong second, half a length in arrears, was Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s Gervais with Connor Beasley up. Ismail Mohammed’s Dirilis Ertugrul took third in the hands of Fabrice Veron.
It was a brilliant return to action for Al Mheiri, who won the third, fifth and seventh races on the card with Antonio Vivaldi, Casey Jones and Welsh Lord all ridden by Fresu.
Antonio Vivaldi won the 1400m maiden by a length and three fourths under Fresu with Satish Seemar’s Zero To A Hundred taking second with Richard Mullen up. In third place, a further length and a quarter back, was another Seemar charge in Miller’s House with O’Shea up.
Casey Jones won the most exciting race of the card, which was also the pick of the Thoroughbred action. No outright winner could be discerned at first glance in the 1600m rated conditions contest with the judges declaring the 5yo Casamento gelding to have won the battle of the bobbing heads with Watson’s Thegreatcollection, the ride of Pat Cosgrave. In third was Al Mheiri’s Alkaamel ridden by O’Neill.
Seemar and O’Shea combined to win the 1200m handicap with Lavaspin, who dominated the field to win by three lengths from Al Mheiri’s Dahawi, with Fresu up. A further two and a quarter lengths back in third was Watson’s Lytham St Annes with Dobbs in the saddle.
Al Mheiri and Fresu ended their night in style by completing a hat-trick in the 2000m handicap with Welsh Lord. Watson’s Meqdam ridden by Sam Hitchcott was second with Sea Skimmer third for Helal Al Alawi and rider Szczepan Mazur.