Dubai: Satish Seemar’s Bochart turned the Gulf News Handicap into a procession with a dominant effort that saw him go from gate to post virtually unchallenged by the rest of his eight rivals.
Nine went to post in the 1,400m contest on dirt, but the eight-year-old Dubawi gelding, a multiple former course-and-distance winner, was untroubled as he jumped well under Fabrice Veron and went straight to the front and stayed there. Veron kept him in cruise control around the bend and urged him on in the straight, with Bochart merely picking up pace and skipping clear to finish two lengths clear of Alkaamel. The Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained and Antonio Fresu-ridden Alkaamel, in turn, finished one-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of Shadwell teammate Mubakker, trained by Doug Watson and guided by Sam Hitchcott.
The feature event of the night the Zabeel Trophy, a Rated Conditions event on 1,600m of the turf track was won by Al Mheiri and his first-choice rider Fresu, who while picking a second gong each for the night brought Shadwell a third win on the card.
Al Mheiri and Fresu had earlier won the 1,200m turf sprint with Mutaraffa and the Italian rider turned in another splendid performance aboard Alfareeq who headed Seemar’s Seniority with Tadhg O’Shea up 200m out and then held on to win by three-quarters of a length, with Gabr a further two in arrears for Watson and Adrie de Vries.
Shadwell picked a historic first win in the UAE courtesy of Watson and Sam Hitchcott, who won the 1,400m turf handicap with Bawaasil. That success was one in an early card double for the Red Stables pair, who also nicked the card-opening 1,400m maiden with Mcmanaman.
Shadwell’s second success arrived courtesy Al Mheiri and Fresu’s first win on the card in the 1,200m turf sprint which was won by Mutaraffa.
Championships: Owners, Jockeys settled, Trainers still battling
O’Shea was presented with his ninth UAE Champion Jockey prize, while Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda picked up his fourth UAE Champion Owner gong and dedicated his success to the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former UAE Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai.
“Sheikh Hamdan did a lot for UAE racing and immensely supported the Purebred Arabian breed along with Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also a massive supporter of Purebred Arabian in the UAE and around the world. This is for them and the entire team that works behind the scenes: the trainer, the jockeys and the stable staff,” Al Nabooda said.
The UAE Trainers’ Championship looks like it will be settled during Friday’s season-ending card at Al Ain.
Watson and Ernst Oertel were tied on 38 wins apiece heading to Meydan, with American Watson ahead on the basis of a superior countback of runner-up places, which he led 36 to 30.
The deadlock was due to end at some point during the night and Watson ensured that happened in the first race. He could have had a third on the card, but Al Qaqaa was edged by a short head by Good Tidings who brought a third victory on the night for Al Mheiri and Fresu when winning the 2410m turf handicap the longest race of the night.
Salem bin Ghadayer and Royston Ffrench also found success on the card as Rare Ninja knocked out the opposition to win the 1900m Longines Stakes, a Conditions event for three-year-olds on dirt. Helal Alalawi and Omani apprentice rider Abdul Aziz Al Balushi combined to land the last race of the season at Meydan, the 2,000m handicap on turf with Zorion.
At the end of the night, Watson’s double took him to 40, two clear of Oertel who will have his chance on Friday’s Purebred Arabian-heavy card at Al Ain.