Abu Dhabi: It was quite a show yet again by Dane O’Neill, ahead of the short holiday break for racing in the capital, when he added the HH The President’s Cup to the National Day Cup he won earlier for champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.
Al Raihe and O’Neill had combined to win the National Day Cup (Listed) race here a fortnight ago with Derbaas and, after springing a surprise win for Doug Watson with Quite A Show in the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah at Meydan last week, the 37-year-old was spot on again with a lesser-fancied runner in Alazeyab.
While Dhruba Selvaratnam’s Jaasoos, the Al Raihe pair of First City and Garbah and Satish Seemar’s Escape Route and Marching Time had garnered most of the support from the Pick Six fans, O’Neill had other ideas.
Seizing a gap at the rails and with about 250 metres to go in the seven-furlong turf contest, O’Neill got Alazeyab to quicken his strides and win the evening’s feature event.
The 6-year-old bay gelding, who had ended his 2010-11 season with a win and then started 2011-12 with another, had since gone without a victory in nine starts before Sunday’s impressive run.
“He did it well and he is a very gutsy horse. We had to wait and we had a good race midway. Once he got the pocket he moved well, put his head down and finished the job,” the winning jockey said.
“He beat a quality field here and if he can improve on this run he can go to the Carnival with some good form,” O’Neill added.
Trainer Ernst Oertel opened and closed the 6-race meeting with victories but missed out on a triple when Richleau was beaten by a head by the Eric Lemartinel-trained Magik Du Paon.
While Oertel’s double came in the Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic with Shayel Aldhabi and in the 11-furlong Al Reem Maiden with Maharani, jockey Saber Trabelsi opened his account with a win on Victor Adam in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners.