Author: Duane Fonseca

French Jockey Xavier Ziani has spoken of how he survived a potentially catastrophic event in full view of his family at Jebel Ali last Friday. It was perhaps the most testing time of his life in the saddle, but Ziani showed great courage and determination to stay aboard Arroway in the opening race on the most prized card of the season up the ‘hill’. The 1800m contest was won by Kunani with a time of 1:49.46s and during those two testing minutes, Ziani dislocated his left shoulder, rode 1200m with it hanging loose, managed to get it to click back in place and even finished second aboard trainer Sandeep Jadhav’s charge.

Al Adiyat caught up with Ziani after the race to find out what really happened and the French rider said: “When I started the race, I pushed the horse out hard and my shoulder popped out, it just dislocated. “At that time I didn’t want to stop the race because I knew I had a good chance, so I tried to put it back myself. I did and he ran well and finished second. “All jockeys when they jump from the gate they don’t think about all these things. The pain or anything else does not matter, they just want to go out there and win, so you have to work with it. Even now I am having a lot of pain, but you keep going with it.

“Arroway finished second and that was really good because I knew the horse had a chance. My shoulder was dislocated until the 600m post when you start to hit the straight here at Jebel Ali. “When I started to push for victory and told him to go, I somehow managed to get the joint back in place, so for about 1200m I had to ride with a dislocated shoulder.” Ziani revealed he started to have problems with the shoulder since an accident in the stalls during pre-season training when the injury occured for the first time. “Something happened early in the season, but the horse was fine,” Ziani added. “It was an incident just before the first meeting. A horse hit the rail with me riding it just as we were out of the starting gate and my shoulder popped.

“But it was that time where the season was only two weeks away and I could not stop. I had to keep going so of course once it’s out it can happen more often and that’s what happened. After the season I will look into fixing it.” A race later, Ziani was celebrating in the winner’s circle having ridden another Jadhav-schooled charge, Bois De Boulogne, to victory in the 1950m Derrinstown Stud rated conditions event. This time his mum and dad were in the winner’s enclosure with him. “Bois De Boulogne’s a nice horse and has a lot of ability and luckily I won again with him,” Ziani said. “My family is here so it’s always especially great to win in front of them. It felt really great.”