Dubai: British Champion Jockey Richard Hughes made his first local appearance in a Purebred Arabian race a winning one when steering Rabbah De Carrere to victory in the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah, the feature event on the Al Tayer Motors-sponsored card at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night.
Trained by Majed Al Jahouri, the winner repelled the challenge of Shayel Aldhabi to win in impressive style.
Hughes was delighted, saying: “I really enjoyed riding a Purebred Arabian and he seems a nice horse. I hit the front too soon on him, that was my fault, but he battled well to hold on.
“I had ridden an Arabian about 15 years ago in England, so it was not quite my first time. It’s brilliant to finally get a win at Meydan, so many jockeys do and it would be terrible to say I didn’t.”
Surfer, a 1400m winner on this card 12 months ago, followed up this term in a 1600m conditions race, with jockey Richard Mullen always looking confident on the Satish Seemar-trained runner.
The pair led turning for home and were able to open up a decisive gap before fending off the late challenge of Mufarrh from 50m out.
Mullen said: “Other than the Godolphin Mile, he just kept on improving last season and this was another good performance because there were plenty of good horses in behind.
“Hopefully he can win something at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.”
It was a good night for Seemar, with local debutant Ralston Road, owned by Jimmy Long’s Thistle Bloodstock, scoring a thrilling victory in the 2000m conditions race under Tadhg O’Shea to complete a double for the trainer.
The pair only led once in the race, right on the line, denying the gallant Izaaj, who nearly made all the running under Adrie De Vries.
O’Shea said: “I would have settled for a dead-heat but I knew I was hitting the line the stronger of the pair.
“We hope he is a Dubai World Cup night horse and this is a great start to his UAE career. He is a lazy work horse so will probably have needed that and he stays a lot further.”
The 1200m conditions event was a productive one for owner Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, who owned the first three home, headed by the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Rafeej.
He was ridden by the owner’s second jockey, Dane O’Neill, to a narrow victory over Paul Hanagan in the first colours on Tamaathul, with Mujaazef completing the trio.
The winner, who broke the 1200m track record at Sharjah on his penultimate start, was narrowly beaten in a Meydan handicap last time but made no mistake here.
O’Neill said: “I knew Tamaathul was going to be a big threat and, when I realised it was him chasing me, I was worried, but we had race fitness and a better draw on our side.”
Adrie De Vries made the perfect start to the evening when making all the running in the opening 2000m maiden on Tarbawi, previously a hold-up horse, trained by his main employer Ahmad bin Harmash.
De Vries said: “We needed to try something different after a couple of disappointing runs and he was much happier out in front and has kept on galloping in the straight.
“Hopefully he can build on this.”
There was a thrilling finish to the concluding 1200m handicap, with Parvaaz, trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam, just holding on from Surge Ahead, in doing so providing apprentice Thomas Brown his 70th career winner.