Dubai: Trainer Satish Seemar may not have been present at Meydan Racecourse’s opening race meeting of the 2017-2018 season yesterday, but that did not stop jockey Antonio Fresu from bringing his A game to the UAE’s home of thoroughbred racing.
The talented Italian rider was bristling with confidence as he steered a very willing Circle Dream, a two-year-old son of top sprinter Oasis Dream, who was making his racecourse debut, to a compelling victory in the Arabian Adventures Maiden over six furlongs.
The winner strode cross the line a length-and-a-half clear of Argentine bred Roy Orbison, a three-year-old named after the legendary musician who penned many timeless classics such as Pretty Woman, Only The Lonely and I Drove All Night.
Expectations are bound to be high in races dedicated to two-year-olds and over, and the charismatic Zabeel Stables team must now be eagerly looking forward to campaigning their new star during the rest of the season.
“It’s good to get the monkey off your back early,” said Bhupat Seemar, assistant to former UAE champion handler Satish who was on his way back to Dubai from the Breeders’ Cup meeting in Del Mar, California.
“We’ve won our first race and it makes it more rewarding because he’s a horse we bought for a very supportive owner and he’s a very supportive owner (Nasir Askar).”
Zabeel Stables are equipped with 20 exciting two-year-old horses and results like these must stoke up the passion at home as they head into what promises to be another enthralling flat racing season in the UAE.
“Obviously we’re keen to see how the younger crop fare so we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” added Bhupat.
Fresu, who is based at Erwan Charpy’s Green Stables, was delighted to win the opening race at Meydan, home to the $30 million (Dh110 million) Dubai World Cup meeting, the 23rd running of which will take place on March 31, next year.
“It’s always nice to ride a winner here and Circle Dream game me a great feel,” said the Italian who booted home 24 winners last season.
“He looks a very nice two-year-old and I’m sure Satish will be looking forward to the rest of the season with his strong string.”
Meanwhile, Racecourse Media Group (RMG) has been awarded another two-year contract by Meydan Group to provide production and distribution of the full horse racing season at Meydan Racecourse.
Timeline Television will provide broadcast facilities and crew to support RMG’s host production and on-course coverage to broadcast the races to audiences around the world. RMG, which has produced and distributed horse racing from the flagship racecourse in Dubai for the previous two seasons, is offering a number of exciting broadcast rights packages for the 20-fixture season, hosted by the Dubai Racing Club.
Frank Gabriel Jr, the executive director of Racing at Dubai Racing Club, said: “Racecourse Media Group provided first-rate production and presentation of racing from Meydan for the last two seasons and RMG also took the event to new and increased audiences via their distribution. The 2017 Dubai World Cup was the first horse race to be broadcast live on airlines and cruise-lines via the Sport 24 channel and NBC Sports also broadcast the card in the US.”
Richard FitzGerald, CEO of RMG, added: “We are delighted that we once again can partner with Meydan and work together in successfully showcasing this world-class racing.”
The UAE domestic season leads into the $10,870,000 Dubai World Cup Carnival, which starts on January 11 and takes in 10 fixtures.
RMG is the parent company of Racing UK, which will be showing every fixture live from Meydan this season and is available in the UK on Sky 432, Virgin 536 and 411, Freeview and YouView 231, and www.racinguk.com.