Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan-owned Mahbooba, ridden by Tadhg O’Shea and trained by Eric Lemartinel, won the Dh1 million Emirates Championship, the feature race of the final meeting at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday.
Mahbooba stayed third for most part of the race and then took over in the final bend to win over stable companion Nashmee, Harry Bentley astride, who finished three lengths behind. Coming third was Babel D’Aillas, ridden by Fernando Jara.
With this victory, O’Shea also walked away with the Jockey’s Championship at the capital course with 22 wins for the season.
“It has been a tremendous season and I ride for two main stables, Grand Stand and Al Asayl. It’s been a privilege to be in this position and all credit to Eric and his team. There is a lot of pressure but I try not to think too much about it. There are some beautiful horses and good breeding programme and it is my job to sustain that and keep moving forward,” said a jubilant O’Shea, who later completed a double for the evening by winning the final race — the Wathba Stud Farm Cup Championship for Private Owners on AF Maher for trainer Ernst Oertel.
Maisoor became the first horse from Oman to win the UAE Arabian Derby over 2,200 metres yesterday. Ridden by Adrie De Vries, Maisoor won virtually unchallenged and increased his win record to nine out of nine.
Seven lengths behind, on second spot was Al Tiryaq, Sam Hitchcott astride, while Bougedelah, ridden by Dane O’Neill, finished third another half a length behind.
“He is a good horse and he has been winning all his races easily. We changed the jockey Anas Al Seyabi for this race because we just wanted to try something different,” said trainer Said Al Badi, adding that Maisoor is very much a Kahayla Classic prospect.
The Arabian Triple Crown (Round 3) race held earlier, over an extended distance of 2400 metres, also saw a similar dominant finish. Ridden by Jim Crowley, Al Zahir, owned Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Finance Minister, powered to victory. Finishing second and third were Darius Du Paon and Mawahib, both trained by Lemartinel and ridden by O’Shea and Royston Ffrench, respectively.
“He can run very well on dirt as well. He is always very relaxed and it showed today again that he is a very good horse,” said assistant trainer Jilani Siddiqui.
Crowley also completed a double for the evening when he rode Zamaam to victory for trainer Erwan Charpy in the 2,200-metre Abu Dhabi Championship for Thoroughbred.