Dubai: First-season handler Nicholas Bachalard introduced an exciting new acquisition at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday in American recruit Draco who made a huge impression when running away with the Emirates NBD handicap, the day’s co-feature.
With champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea on board, the lightly raced Draco tracked the early leader, Alkhalifa, the mount of Dane O’Neil, before taking control inside the final furlongs and putting the race to bed within a matter of strides.
The winner was eased approaching the finish line to score by four-and-a-half lengths from Wasim, the Pick Six favourite ridden by Emirati apprentice Saeed Al Mazrouei.
Draco also gifted Bachalard with his maiden success since he assumed charge of Jebel Ali Stakes back in April.
The first win is always special. It’s good for the stables and for all those who put in the hard work. And it takes the pressure off a bit.
“The first win is always special,” said the Frenchman. “It’s good for the stables and for all those who put in the hard work. And it takes the pressure off a bit.”
However, Bachalard was not willing to get carried away by the manner of Draco’s victory over a competitive field.
“His rider who works him in the morning said that the horse was doing well and that he should run a good race,” he said. “He was quick out of the gates and showed quite a bit of speed. Everything seemed to be to his advantage today.
“We’ll come back in a month, perhaps over a mile.
“Look, it’s nice to have winners, but we’d rather take it one day at a time. It’s a long season.”
Meanwhile, Satish Seemar, who characteristically appears to have his string in fine order, helped himself to a meet double, courtesy of Au Coeur in the Al Shafar Investment LLC handicap and Above Normal, who landed the Derrinstown Stud co-feature.
Seemar, who has saddled seven winners so far in the season, commented: “I don’t wish to sound big-headed but we were expecting a start like this.
“We almost never have a bad season. What you have is what you produce and we’ve always done well with whatever we’ve had.
He then sounded a warning to his rivals, saying: “The big boys have still to come out and prove themselves, we’re really looking forward to it.”
Former champion trainer Al Rashid Al Rayhi also sent out two winners with Af Meghwaar winning the Arab race and Hello in the afternoon’s closing race.