Dubai: Royston Ffrench may have been denied a big-race double at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday afternoon, but the popular rider was nevertheless revelling in his comeback season when riding Monsaraat to a repeat victory in the Dh500,000 Jebel Ali Stakes.
Last year in January Ffrench suffered a horrific fall at the venue and painfully watched Tadhg O’Shea perform winning duties aboard Monsaraat in the Stakes.
Having made a full recovery, the 1997 champion apprentice in Britain and winner of the historic Cesarewitch Handicap the previous year, has surpassed his tally of winners of the last three UAE seasons with as many as 16 winners, the latest being Monsaraat.
“To be honest sole credit to the team,” said Ffrench, who is well respected for his modesty and humility. “I just do the steering, they do all the hard work.
“He’s got Carnival form and is good on his day. So this was a no brainer. We just rode him differently, with more patience, and it paid off.”
Trainer Sandeep Jadhav was delighted that his stable star was winning the Jebel Ali Stakes on consecutive years and said: “It’s very hard to win races like these back-to-back.
“But he’s a really good horse who give one hundred per cent. He just loves this track. We’ll see what the handicapper does with him and the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge (March 9) could be an option.”
The Dh500,000 Jebel Ali Sprint, the co-feature on the card, was won in impressive fashion by the British-bred Thammin, who was making his UAE debut for trainer Musabah Al Muhairi.
Previously trained by Owen Barrows at his Kingwood House Stables in Lambourn, England, the five-year-old son of Dark Angel, showed his instant liking for the Jebel Ali dirt track when he pulverised his rivals to win the five-furlong contest by four lengths from High On Life, the mount of Ffrench.
Crowley, the 2016 British Champion Jockey, was delighted with the performance and said: “The last time he ran at Meydan he showed a lot of speed. I was very impressed.
“He’s got a lot of natural speed and he’s relatively unexposed over this distance. It’s always a nice surprise when they come over from the UK and run so well. He has thrived over here and found his best trip.”
Meanwhile, veteran French handler Jean de Roualle captured his fifth winner of the season when Brraq ran out an impressive two-length winner of the opening Emirates NBD Handicap for Purebred Arabians.
A former Group 1-winning trainer in Chantilly, France, de Roualle trains out of the Al Ain Racecourse, near the border of Oman.
Richard Mullen, who was aboard the winner, commented: “This is all about team work. He’s been in three different stables, he’s been on golf courses, you name it.
“He’s been a different project but a project worth the wait. It’s all about perseverance and he’s in the right hands with Jean, who has taken small steps with him.
“But he’s got a bright future, perhaps a pattern race. He’s learning all the time and that’s what he’s here for,” added Mullen.
“Full credit to Jean and the team. My job was easy.”