(From left) Trainer Julian Smart, jockey Richard Mullen, Al Shahania Stud general manager Abdulrahman al-Mansour, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) board member Mohamed al-Sheeb and Racing manager Abdullah Rashid al-Kubaisi at the prize distribution ceremony after Al Atique won the Al Britha Cup at QREC yesterday. PICTURES: Juhaim
By Mikhil Bhat/Doha
HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Al Atique warmed up for the new season with a photo-finish win in the Al Britha Cup, yesterday’s feature race on the sands of Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club.
Jockey Richard Mullen, riding in Al Shahania Stud silks, had the Amer progeny move quickly out of the gates and they settled behind leader TM Reagen Bret.
Pace quickened as the group made the turn for the home stretch and Al Wasmiyah Farm’s Jelmud, last of the pack so far, showed some superb turn of foot to turn the race into a thriller.
The nine-year-old Amer progeny joined half brother Al Atique and TM Reagen Bret up ahead. With just 100m to go, Julian Smart-schooled Al Atique looked like he was slowing down and stablemate Al Bashtoon threw his hat into the competition with a run on the outside.
Mullen whipped his ride for a final push, which proved decisive, when the photos were brought out. Jelmud was edged out into second place, while Al Bashtoon and TM Reagan Bret finished a joint third in the Purebred Arabian Handicap race for horses rated 90 and above.
“It’s the beginning of the season, and he is a good horse with a lot of wins. So the win, even though by shortest of margins, he deserves it. It’s just the start this season and I am sure he will improve as the season progresses,” said Al Shahania Stud manager Alexandra Newman.
“We had another good horse in Al Bashtoon but he was a bit far behind. He will improve too in the coming races.”
Earlier, Umm Qarn’s Taima shed her maiden status with a win in the Local Purebred Arabian Maiden Plate. Jockey Jean Baptiste Hamel kept the five-year-old mare, trained by Alban de Mieulle, right behind the leading trio going into the final two furlongs.
Babe, owned by Fahad bin Mubarak bin Jassim al-Groon, had the lead but was overwhelmed by Taima and Hassan Ali Hassan al-Matwi’s Shaqraa Al Jazeera in the final 50m.
Eventually, Jean Baptiste Hamel’s mount edged out Marco Monteriso’s ride by a neck for her first win in six career races.
The next race in the card, a Conditions race for local thoroughbreds, with winners of earlier races of the current season, promised to be a close one.
Eventually, Dhafi al-Ardi al-Marri’s Absher, who had won the season’s first feature Al Safliya Cup on October 28, beat the likes of Ain Khaled Cup winner Al Hareth and Footprintinthesand, a handicap race winner from two weeks ago, to take a second victory in the season.
Jockey Monteriso kept the six-year-old chestnut horse in the rear group, seventh in the eight-horse race to be specific, even as Al Wasmiyah Farm’s Battash and Ahmed Kobeissi’s charge Footprintinthesand vied for the lead in the front.
As Battash fell back and the home straight approached, Monteriso tried moving his ride between Jassim al-Ghazali-schooled Al Hareth on the inside and Footprintinthesand on the outside, but with the latter moving inward, Absher moved outside. With 100 metres to go, Absher picked up speed and beat Seb Sanders’ ride by half a length.
In the 1200m Handicap race for Purebred Arabians rated 70 and below, Osama Omar al-Dhafea-owned Shmoos picked up her second career victory with a two-length win over Ras Al Qimmah, owned by Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari and trained by al-Ghazali.
JP Guillambert and his mount had led the race off the gates with Shmoos, ridden by Xavier Ziani, at their heels.
Coming on to the home stretch, the two horses built up a lead over the rest of the 11-horse field, and eventually Shmoos surged ahead for a comfortable victory.
In the Thoroughbred Handicap race for horse rated 65 and below, Al Majd Stud’s Cappuccino Delight gave al-Ghazali his only victory of the day.
JP Guillambert kept his mount in the hunt in fourth place as another al-Ghazali charge Protect, owned by Hamad bin Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Attiyah, led the 1800m race off the gates. With two furlongs to go, Cappuccino Delight, who had one race in 13 starts before yesterday’s event, was whipped into action by her jockey and she responded well to overhaul Protect and Mohamed Khalifa al-Sowaidi’s Cueca for a fine win.
Al Zekreet Racing’s Dartford once again beat Rashid Mubarak Aljafali al-Naimi’s Galaxy to win the Class 5 Thoroughbred Graduation Plate. The six-year-old gelding had beaten the Majed Seifeddine’s four-year-old charge two weeks ago, also in an 1800m dirt race.
Yesterday, Saeed Mubarak Saeed Aljafali al-Naimi’s Resolute, with Marco Monteriso at the helm, worked his way on the outside to take the early lead away from Dartford, ridden by Gerald Avranche.
Pier Convertino’s ride Galaxy started steadily gaining positions on the outside and two furlongs from the finish, along with Dartford, gunned for the win. But Dartford’s advantageous position upfront, having already overhauled Resolute, ensured his win. Go For Broke, ridden by Yanis Aouabed, settled behind race leader Rock Up, owned by Abdullah Mohamed al-Kuwari & Sons, before overhauling the latter 100m away from the post to win the Thoroughbred Handicap race for horses rated 65-85. Rock Up was eventually pushed back in the order with Urban Dreamer, Sunley pride and Rebelde moving ahead for second, third and fourth position, in the penultimate race of the day.
1st Race: 1. Taima (Jean Baptiste Hamel); 2. Shaqraa Al Jazeera (Marco Monteriso); 3. Babe (Pier Convertino); 4. Saif Brooq (Gerald Avranche). Won by: Nk, 1 ¾, 4. Time: 1:12.99. Owner: Umm Qarn. Trainer: Alban de Mieulle
2nd Race: 1. Absher (Marco Monteriso); 2. Footprintinthesand (Seb Sanders); 3. Moaddie (Yanis Aouabed); 4. Al Hareth (Alberto Sanna). Won by: ½, 1 ¾, 6. Time: 1:50.27. Owner: Eng. Dhafi al-Ardi al-Marri. Trainer: Dhafi al-Marri
3rd Race: 1. Shmoos (Xavier Ziani); 2. Ras Al Qimmah (JP Guillambert); 3. Fiteen (Jean Baptiste Hamel); 3. Shizam CS (Yanis Aouabed). Won by: 2, 2 ½, 1 ¾. Time: 1:18.80. Owner: Eng. Osama Omar al-Dhafea. Trainer: O. Al Dhafa
4th Race: 1. Cappuccino Delight (JP Guillambert); 2. Protect (Stephan Ladjadj); 3. Cueca (Gerald Avranche); 4. Qatar Sky (Yanis Aouabed). Won by: 1 ¾, Nk, 1. Time: 1:55.53. Owner: Al Majd Stud. Trainer: Jassim al-Ghazali
5th Race: 1. Dartford (Gerald Avranche); 2. Galaxy (Pier Convertino); 3. Resolute (Marco Monteriso); 4. Hall Of Mirrors (Seb Sanders). Won by: 1, 2 ½, ¾. Time: 1:54.51. Owner: Al Zekreet Racing. Trainer: M. al-Ramzani
6th Race: 1. Go For Broke (Yanis Aouabed); 2. Urban Dreamer (Richard Mullen); 3. Sunley Pride (Darren Williams); 4. Rebelde (Marco Monteriso). Won by: 1 ½, Nk, Hd, ½. Time: 1:11.01. Owner: Ibrahim Hassan al-Malki al-Jehani. Trainer: H. al-Jehani.
7th Race: 1. Al Atique (Richard Mullen); 2. Jelmud (Almotasem al-Balushi); 3. Al Bashtoon (Marco Monteriso); 3. TM Reagan Bret (JP Guillamber). Won by: Shd, Nk, Shd. Time: 2:05.16. Owner: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Thani. Trainer: Julian Smart.
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