Abu Dhabi: It’s not very often that you see a reserve horse win a race, but that’s what happened at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday evening. Skygazer got into the Madinat Zayed handicap as a result of three pre-race withdrawals and even went on to win it rather comfortably in the end.
Ridden by Ronan Whelan for Emirati handler Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, the winner overtook Town’s History on the home turn and galloped to a comfortable 3 ½ length victory, his third of the season. It was Skygazer’s seventh career success and second on turf, having also won at Jinma Lake in China during April 2017.
Whelan said: “He has really enjoyed the return to turf and that strong gallop they went this evening has really suited him. He is just an honest horse who tries his best and we were lucky to get in the race as second reserve. Obviously I missed a lot of the early part of the season, but am back now and hoping for a good second half of the campaign.”
The meet was highlighted by a treble by Omani Royal Cavalry trainer Younis Al Kalbani. Duc De Faust, ridden by Szczepan Mazur completed the memorable hat-trick.
Fresh from the biggest win of his career, aboard Wadeeaa in the Purebred Arabian Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 at Meydan on Thursday, Mazur is clearly enjoying life. “He has been running well and deserved another win. I won on him over this course and distance in November and was then, on the dirt in Muscat, third on him in a good 1600m conditions race. It has been a very exciting few days and these are the reasons we are jockeys; to ride these good winners,” Mazur said.