NINETEEN races last weekend, of which ten were for Purebred Arabians and, thus, the first real opportunity for the battalions owned by Sheikh Khalifa and Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda to flex their muscles. The former, crowned Champion Owner last year, doubled his seasonal tally with a winner apiece at Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, whereas the man he deposed as champion, Al Nabooda edged ahead of him with a double in the capital and a winner at Sharjah. However, neither could catch Mohd Khalifa Al Basti who has celebrated two winners in each of the three weeks thus far of the current campaign. On the subject of owners, syndicates have made a great start to the season with EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club), Touch Gold Racing, Al Wasl Racing, Abu Dhabi Racing and Al Rahoomi Racing Syndicate all among the winners.
However, pride of place has to go to Phoenix Ladies Syndicate: two runners, two winners! Both were ridden by Connor Beasley whose second UAE campaign could not have started any better and leads the jockeys’ table, closely followed by Ben Curtis, a newcomer to the local weighing room, as well as established duo Pat Dobbs and Richard Mullen. The last named rode a Meydan double, as well as his other two winners this season, for Satish Seemar who has joined Doug Watson on five winners atop the trainers’ table. Eric Lemartinel, training predominantly for Sheikh Khalifa and ErnstOertel, who handles most of the Al Nabooda string, move to four, in good company with Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and Musabbeh Al Mheiri. Meanwhile, Sharjah on Saturday was something of a rarity locally: six races with different owners, trainers and jockeys sharing the spoils.