Author: Duane Fonseca

OMANI OWNER Basil Masoud Al Kasbi’s ability to trust his gut could pay big time Dubai World Cup night after his prized gem Rajeh dropped his name in the mix for the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic with a dazzling victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 at Meydan on Friday night.

Al Kasbi doesn’t want to say too much and prefers to remain coy over the opportunities that lie ahead of the 8yo Jaafer entire, whose owners he pursued for two years to sell. But Meydan’s grandstands have seen too much during their time and Rajeh’s resounding Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 success on its dirt strip Friday night would have done plenty to put him among the favourites for the Purebred Arabian showpiece on the Dubai World Cup card.

Al Kasbi was absolutely convinced the horse had the potential to win at the highest level and his gut feeling was proved right Friday as Rajeh made his point with pizazz, showing his supreme conditioning and romping to a six and a quarter length victory in the race which is just 100m short of the trip of the 2000m Kahayla Classic.

“When I bought this horse my plan was to bring him to Dubai and run him in the Group One races here,” said Al Kasbi, who bought Rajeh from his previous Qatari owners. “That was always the plan and one of the things I had hoped to achieve has been achieved with this victory.

“Buying this horse wasn’t easy and I pursued him for two years with his former owner finally agreeing to sell him. I’ve liked him from the beginning, ever since he started racing and I really wanted him to run in my colours. “We are hoping for a lot from him now. We don’t know what the future holds, but inshallah there will be more wins.”

Rajeh is trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, with Antonio Fresu guiding him during both UAE starts, his first in the PA Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 where he placed third. And Al Kasbi is happy to watch and let Al Mheiri call the shots. “The Dubai Kahayla Classic is obviously part of the plan because it is one of the finest races in the world for Purebred Arabians, but as far as Rajeh is concerned, I will leave the decision on whether he runs there or doesn’t with the trainer,” Al Kasbi told Al Adiyat.

“He knows more about the horse and he knows whether he should run there or not. So the full authority to run him is with Musabbeh… I’ve left everything with him. Of course he will let me know, but I’m not going to interfere with his decisions.” Rajeh first raced in Al Kasbi’s colours in the Group 1 Qatar International Cup in February last year, with his last run in the neighbouring Gulf nation on 1 April, when he again flopped, finishing a distant 12th.

Moving to the UAE has done him a lot of good, but the same cannot be said of teammate Al Murtajel, who arrived from Oman and is under the tutelage of Abu Dhabibased conditioner Khalifa Al Neyadi. Al Kasbi has a small operation in Oman and with just a trio carrying his silks, he spends a bit of his time learning the ropes in the breeding side of things.

“I don’t plan to keep too many horses in ownership as I want to focus on quality,” said Al Kasbi. “I breed horses too. I’ve just started and I haven’t had any results from breeding, but am hoping to see results in a few years.” For now, he will hope Rajeh delivers the right result on Dubai World Cup night.