Abu Dhabi: After the success in the richest Purebred Arabian contest, the €1.2 million Group 1 Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown over 1600m in November, RB Burn registered another impressive win in Sunday’s 1400m Group 1 Liwa Oasis at the capital course.
An elated trainer Eric Lemartinel immediately announced following the success that he has the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the traditional opener of the Dubai World Cup, for RB Burn next.
“He’s been off the track for more than two months and we thought of giving him a run over this shorter distance to get him ready for the Kahayla in three weeks,” said the trainer of his horse that recorded its second Group 1 victory of the season in the capital.
“He handles any distance from 1,400m to 2,000m and is versatile, he can handle both the turf and the dirt,” added Lemartinel. Jockey Gerald Avranche placed RB Burn well as stable companion RB Torch, under Royston Ffrench, set the early pace and only made his move as the leaders swung into the straight when Ain Jaloot took up the running. RB Torch was challenged by AF Maqayes and was able to thwart his determined challenge but had no answer to RB Burn who hit the front inside the final 200m to win comfortably.
“I was determined to find cover on him early on as he can be keen — second Group 1 victory of the season in the capital. Once he settled he travelled nicely so I was happy tracking AF Maqayes and he quickened nicely when I asked,” said Avranche.
Al Zahir made his local debut a winning one, proving far too good for eight opponents in the main support race, the 2200m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R2, restricted to four-year-olds.
A winner once from just four starts in France, he is now with Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and was ridden confidently by the owner’s retained jockey, Jim Crowley.
Settled in midfield, the pair made smooth progress approaching the home turn before committing for home at the top of the straight. They soon had matters under control and he looks an interesting new recruit to the local scene.
“He has been going nicely at home so we were pretty hopeful,” said Crowley. “Hopefully he is a nice horse for next season.”
The meeting opened with a 1400m maiden and Richard Mullen took the Ernst Oertel-trained AF Makerah straight to the front and very few of the other 15 were ever able to get competitive.
The main exception was Al Huda who, under Tadhg O’Shea, threw down a challenge during the straight but was unable to get past. It was a case of third time lucky for the winner who had finished second on both her previous outings.
Al Nabooda did complete a double with the notable success of AF Ssayes in a 1000m handicap. He was never headed under Fernando Jara, providing trainer Maria Ritchie with her first winner.
“Obviously I am delighted to get off the mark,” said Ritchie. “We were actually pretty confident as he has plenty of pace and Fernando gave him a great ride.
“There is one more race for him this season for which he needs to get an invitation but he should do as this was his second win this year.”
The only Thoroughbred contest was the finale, a 1600m handicap for which a full field of 16 went to post and it was the turn of Mullen to complete a double.
Partnering Taaj for his main employer, Satish Seemar, Mullen asked his mount to challenge early in the straight and they hit the front about 200m out.
Several dangers emerged but Mullen’s mount clung on grimly, repeating his course and distance victory of four weeks ago on his most recent start.
“Abu Dhabi has been lucky for me this season,” said Mullen. “Obviously it is great to ride winners for my main supporters, Satish and Ernst and hopefully we will get a few more at the last two meetings.”