Dubai: It may have taken all of six years for the horse who goes by the name of Adventurous to win his first race in the UAE but when he did at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday evening, it came in a rather impressive fashion.
With Sandro Paiva on board for the first time, the eight-year-old son of Invincible Spirit appeared to find the form that was desperately lacking since he won his maiden at Newbury racecourse in the UK back in 2015, to win a very competitive Reem Island maiden in a thrilling finish.
Having raced in mid-division of the 13-strong field, Adventurous chased the leaders including Shanghai City, Bold Rex, Log Out Island and Alkhat before he sprouted wings to burst through the pack and score by a neck victory from Daffq (Tadhg O’Shea), Mashaheer (Antonio Fresu) and Shanghai City (Jesus Rosales).
Less than a length separated the speeding quartet as they crossed the finishing line in a blur.
A half-length away were another quartet of horses led by Bold Rex, Rebel Streak, Greeley and Sugar Boy, with only a neck separating one from the other at the winning post.
Paiva, who was notching his eighth win of the season, said that it was a change in riding tactics that perhaps did the trick aboard Adventurous who has had some up and down form.
“Today, I asked my trainer if we could ride him a bit differently and let him relax in the race to give him a better chance to finish the race well,” said the jockey.
“The pace wasn’t too fast so I put him behind some horses and there wasn’t too many gaps. But when I asked him he found more and did it very well.”
Adventurous brought up the 16th winner of the season for veteran Emirati handler Ali Rashid Al Rayhi.
Meanwhile, the Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only delivered an exciting finish as well with Af Majalis narrowly defeating Jinjal under a typically strong rider by Tadgh O’Shea. “Obviously he won his last two so it was good to get the hat-trick up,” said the eight-time UAE champion jockey. “He’s a horse going places and horse that we’ve always liked.
“So (it was a) good tough, honest performance.”
O’Shea was completing a meet double having won the Dalma Island maiden aboard the Ernst Oertel-trained Af Sumoud. The Irish rider continues to dominate the UAE racing circuit taking his tally of winners for the season to 16, five clear of Fabrice Veron and Richard Mullen, who have won 11 races son far.
Al Rayhi and Salem Bin Ghadayeer top the trainer’s championship with 16 wins, one clear of Doug Watson and Ernst Oertel.