Abu Dhabi: Naseem and Thakif, two horses owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, emerged popular winners on the President’s Cup night at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday.
It was a stunning achievement for Shaikh Mansour’s breeding stables in Normandy as Naseem, winner of the D1,000,000 HH The President’s Cup and Thakif, winner of the Al Ruwais (Group 3) in a new course record, were sired by Mahabb, now standing at the Al Wathba Stud Farm.
It was also a huge night for trainer Majid Al Jahouri and Harry Bentley as they partnered in the double triumph with the Shaikh Mansour stars.
In fact, it was the third Group 1 success for Shaikh Mansour and trainer Al Jahouri after Areem’s (another Mahabb son) success in the National Day Cup (Group 1) and the Maktoum Challenge (Group 1).
Naseem won his first two races, the Arabian Triple Crown Round 1 and the UAE Arabian Derby last season, and then failed to impress after that.
But with Sunday’s win in the HH The President’s Cup (Group 1) race the five-year-old chestnut colt looks set for the Dubai Kahalya Classic (Group 1) on Dubai World Cup night.
“We are looking at the third round of the Maktoum Challenge and, if all goes well, it will then be the Kahayla Classic,” said Al Jahouri, the former endurance rider from Al Wathba Stables.
Earlier, a long-standing record by Joyzell (Maha), was shattered by her grandson Thakif.
Thakif led a 1-2 for Al Jahouri, with Rakha coming second, and the winner’s time of 1 minute 01.98 seconds bettered Maha’s 1 minute 02.06 seconds, which was registered on January 25, 2004.
“I was happy the way Thakif ran. He showed a lot of speed and did it well to win,” said Bentley, who recorded the biggest double win of his fledgling career.
“The 1,000m and 1,200m trip seems to suit him (Thakif) the best, although he has won over the longer trip. In future, the plan will be to race him over the sprints,” Al Jahouri said.
Another star of the evening was AF Sanadek, the son of Burning Sand, who won his seventh successive race for trainer Eric Lemartinel under Gerald Avranche.
1. Al Reef Maiden, Purebred Arabians, Dh35,000, 8F:
1. Sheikh Down (Ernst Oertel) Tadhg O’Shea;
2. MH Areeb (Saleha Al Ghurair) Max Frieberg;
3. Madani (Dr Jaber Bittar) Patrick Cosgrave.
Time: 1:46.14; Distances: 0.50L, 4L, 0.50L
2.Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Gold Cup (Prestige) UAE-bred Purebred Arabians, Dh 100,000, 8F:
1. AF Sanadek (Eric Lemartinel) Gerald Avranche;
2. Monawer (Dr. Jaber Bittar) Patrick Cosgrave;
3. Ameer Al Reef (Dr. Jaber Bittar) Jesus Rosales.
Time: 1:44.05; Distances: 3.25L, 0.50L, Neck.
3.Al Ruwais (Group 3) Purebred Arabians, Dh 150,000, 5F:
1. Thakif (Majid Al Jahouri) Harry Bentley;
2. Rakha (Majid Al Jahouri) Royston Ffrench;
3. Aqmaar (Mosabah Al Muhairi) Paul Hanagan.
Time: 61.98 secs (New track record) –Old hed by Maha -1:02.06 on 25-01-2004.
Distances: One L, 1.25L, Shd.
4.Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners, Purebred Arabians, 00-65, 8F:
1. Yazan (Anthony Manuel) Richard Mullen;
2. AF Mursid (Gillian Duffield) Tadhg O’Shea;
3. MH Wafi (Saleha Al Ghurair) Xavier Ziani.
Time: 1:44.82; Distances: 1.75L, 1.75L
5.HH The President’s Cup (Group 1) Purebred Arabians, Dh 1,000,000, 11F:
1. Naseem (Majid Al Jahouri) Harry Bentley;
2. Nieshan (Eric Lemartinel) Gerald Avranche;
3. Jarnin (Majid Al Jahouri) Kieren Fallon.
Time: 2:28.89; Distances: Short Head, 1.50L, Hd.
6.Yas Island Handicap, Thoroughbreds, 85-99, Dh 80,000, 11F:
1. Dr. Faustus (Doug Watson) Patrick Dobbs;
2. Moonlight Dash (Satish Seemar) Richard Mullen;
3. Mantoba (Doug Watson) Kieren Fallon.
Time: 2:15.92; Distances: Head, 0.75L, 2.75L