Meydan racing
Firnas (green) upstages a classy field to win the 1,800 metre Entisar, Sponsored By Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, at Meydan on Thursday. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Emirati handler Salem Bin Ghadayer strengthened his reputation as a big-race specialist with a Listed-race double at the third Racing At Meydan meeting on Thursday evening even as fancied horses bit the dirt.

Bin Ghadayer, who trains out of the Fazza Racing Stables owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, looks to have his yard in fine order as evident by the impressive victories of Important Mission and Firnas.

After the former delivered a stunning come-from-behind win in the Garhoud Sprint, sponsored By DP World UAE Region, it was the turn of Firnas to upstage a classy field in the 1,800 metre Entisar Sponsored By Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal.

Snapped up by owner Ahmad Ghalita Almheiri for Dhs 110,000 at Godolphin’s Racing in Dubai sale in April 2018, the seven-year-old son of Dubawi is repaying the faith imposed in him with a third win from seven starts.

“He’s a lovely horse,” said Bin Ghadayer. “I’m pleased about his ability, otherwise he wouldn’t be in this race. He’s a consistent horse and race-by-race he has shown improvement. No plans yet but we’ll look at some nice races for him going forward to the Carnival.”

The Entisar has been won by some top class middle-distance horses like Special Fighter, Storm Belt, Etijaah, Cosmo Charlie and Military Law and Hong Kong sensation Pakistan Star was bidding to make a winning UAE debut for trainer Doug Watson. It did not materialize as the dual Group 1 winner and pride of Hong Kong could only finish fourth in a race dominated for most of the trip by last year’s runner-up Saltaran Dubai (Richard Mullen) and the fast-finishing Casey Jones (Antonio Fresu)..

The big favourite in the Garhoud Sprint was Zabeel Stables’ power sprinter Bochart, who was unable to produce the turn of foot that saw him win twice earlier this year, but it threw up an amazing performance from Important Mission and Royston Ffrench.

Slowly away and racing almost over 10 lengths off the rest of the field for the first half of the 1200 metre trip, the six-year-old American found his way back into the race before finding an extraordinary set of gears at the 200 metre mark to fly past the field for a very impressive length-and-three quarter victory over another Stateside sprinter, Behavorial Bias.

“When he missed the start, I was scared that he had ruined his chances,” said Bin Ghadayer. “But he is a horse with a lot of speed and class and he proved it tonight.

French agreed with Bin Ghadayer and added: “This evening, I thought it was a lost cause when he did that. But he kept on finding more and in the end it was very easy.”

Meanwhile, former three-time champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi helped himself to a meet double as well with Gervais in the Jebel Ali Port handicap and Zhou Storm in the concluding JAFZA Conditions race.

Satish Seemar and Bahrain’s Fawzi Nass did not go home empty-handed after landing the Mina Rashid with Miller’s House and P & O Marina with Kanood, respectively - both races being maiden events.