Author: Duane Fonseca

HAD he been able to pick the right horses, Richard Mullen would probably have had much more than 13 winners for the season. But the dual UAE Champion Jockey has no regrets whatsoever and believes it’s a kind of ‘win win’ situation as long as his chief employers Zabeel Stables are happy with the way things have progressed on the whole so far. Zabeel boss Satish Seemar is currently second on the UAE Champion Trainer leaderboard with 17 wins, three behind Doug Watson. Mullen has so far contributed just seven to Seemar’s total of 17, but with a change of year, the 44yo’s luck seems to have changed as well with the first weekend of racing in 2020 bringing him three wins, including one on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, which began at Meydan last Thursday.

In executing British trainer David Simcock’s plan perfectly, Mullen was able to get Universal Order to fly home in the home straight and win the Dubai Racing Club Classic, a Listed handicap over 2410m, by a rather comfortable length and a quarter. That win triggered two more over the next two days in the form of a 1600m Purebred Arabian maiden at Al Ain aboard Jean De Roualle’s Musheer Al Wathba and Seemar’s Good Fighter on Meydan’s domestic card Saturday. “It’s been a stop start season for me so far and it can be frustrating,” Mullen told Al Adiyat. “Zabeel horses, in general, are running very well, unfortunately I’ve been picking the wrong ones. “But it’s a nice headache to have. Sometimes, you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong, but we’re here in one piece and that’s a good season for me. “And God willing everyone in the weighing room finishes up with a successful season and we all come back safe.

I’ve always said if we can help the stable, my success comes after that. Zabeel have been very good to me and for Satish the main thing is where we want to get him and that is at the top of the championship.” Speaking of his victory when up on Simcock’s Universal Order, Mullen added: “It was a nice spare ride. He’s obviously a very talented horse. “David said to me get him to relax early because he can be tense and he’s an immature horse still. We saw he was very upset before the race and during the race it was just a matter of getting him to relax. “In his races in England he’s had that sort of running start and I was able to switch him off early and relax and I think he finished the race very strong with a very good performance.

“He’s a horse with a bright future. He’s very athletic. He’s a big striding horse and like I said he has a lot more potential to come and hopefully, for his connections he can go forward, if not here at the Carnival then definitely back in Europe he can be very competitive in those bigger staying races.” With Zabeel’s biggest star North America set to make his seasonal bow this week in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1, a race he won by a massive nine lengths last term, Mullen will be expecting to add to his score. “Hopefully, he can get back to his best. He will run in Round one of the Al Maktoum Challenge and then we hope that he can go to the Saudi Cup if we can get an invitation. He’s a horse to look forward to,” Mullen added.