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Grand double for De Sousa and Jara

‘It’s the first time I have ridden Jaser but he is a lovely horse’

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Jaser, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa for Ebrahim Al Hadhrami, won the 2200m handicap on an evening of penultimate fixture of the season at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in the capital.

The trainer saddled three of a total of 10 runners, all owned by Ben Shahwan Arabian Racing Stables.

In a race which appeared to be run at a good gallop, early leader AF Mahshoum was committed for home leaving the final bend and appeared to have most of his nine opponents in trouble. However, he soon started to weaken under Jim Crowley and had no answer to Jaser’s challenge at the 200m pole, losing second to Mukaram in the final 100m.

“It is the first time I have ridden him but he is a lovely horse and one who would appreciate even further judged on that performance. It is only his second outing on turf since arriving in the UAE and, after two runs on dirt, he has clearly relished it. He had some decent form on grass and over this kind of trip in Europe, so I imagine connections will be looking for similar races, perhaps next season,” said De Sousa.

The only Thoroughbred contest, the following 1,400m maiden appeared to be contested at a furious early gallop, so it was no great surprise most of those who raced prominently finished out the back and well beaten.

The one exception was Muqaatil, settled just behind the leaders by dual British champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa, with the pair taking the lead 300m from home and galloping on strongly to complete a quick double for the Brazilian.

Trained by Ahmad Bin Harmash, the winner was opening his account at his ninth attempt locally. Earlier, he had finished second twice in six outings in England. Before this, his best UAE effort was just last Saturday, when third over 1800m on the Meydan turf.

“He does seem happier on turf than dirt so this looked a good opportunity for him. He was running on over further last week so I was happy to be quite positive in him and confident he would stay. Hopefully now he has that first win to his name he can progress from here,” said De Sousa.

The opening 1,600m maiden was won in unlikely fashion by Morjanah Al Reef, who after a slow start, was nearer last than first among a well strung out 16 runners throughout the first half of the race. At that point, the race looked a duel between long term leader, AF Esnad and Tawazun, who was giving valiant chase but Morjanah Al Reef could be spotted making good progress from the rear. Just when it appeared Tawazun had the upper hand, edging ahead of AF Esnad less than 200m out, Fernando Jara produced the winner to land the spoils for Abdallah Al Hammadi and Al Ajban Stables.

Having her sixth career start, she certainly looks likely to stay further and Jara said: “It was a good finish in the end and I was worried I would not get to Tawazun but then my filly really gave everything in the final stages.”