Dubai: There was no overstating the distinct French flavour to Friday’s Jebel Ali race meeting with trainers and jockeys from ‘l’Hexagone’ dominating proceedings during an entertaining afternoon on the flat, albeit there were no fans in attendance.
French apprentice Hugo Lebouc (4kg) triggered the celebrations when he partnered Af Almomayaz to a comfortable victory in the opening Al Sahel Contracting Co Handicap for Purebred Arabians.
It was then up to resident Jebel Ali Stables handler Nicholas Bachalard and retained jockey Ryan Curatolo to maintain the momentum which they did when teaming up to win the Emirates NBD — Maiden Stakes with American import Sadeedd.
And if that was not enough for the French contingent, Clement Lecoeuv stole the featured Shadwell Conditions Stakes from his rivals with a cagey start-to-finish effort aboard a willing Blue Sovereign.
The victory helped both Lecoeuv and trainer Erwan Charpy record their first success of the season.
“I’m happy to win for the first time in my first season here,” Lecoeuv told the Dubai Racing Channel. “The horse ran very good today and made everybody happy. I hope we can have a good season”
Charpy, who is among the oldest serving trainers in the UAE was full of praise for his jockey and tipped him to eve excel further during the course of the season. “I think that was very smart thing by Clement,” said the Frenchman, who has been based at the Blue Stables since the early 90s.
“He saw there was no pace so he was happy to dictate and the horse responded well. I’m very pleased with Clement as this was his first winner and I think he’ll have many more to come.”
Talking about Blue Sovereign’s performance and his plans for the five-year-old son of Teofilo, Charpy said: “Last year we didn’t bring him to Jebel Ali because he didn’t like the kickback but with this track little bit slower and little bit more sandy obviously he liked it today
“He will probably go further but I would love to see him on the turf. Last year he finished second on the turf so we will try to find a turf race for him.”
Jebel Ali boss Bachalard only runs a horse when he thinks he will be competitive and that was the case with Sadeedd, his only entry on Friday, who finished full of running to win the well-contested Emirates NBD — Maiden Stakes.
Having raced in the middle of the field for most of the trip, Curatolo asked Sadeedd for his effort approaching the final 100 metres and the response was tremendous as the three-year-old son of Stay Thirsty found the desired acceleration to breeze past the leaders for an impressive win/
“When they have not run for six to eight months they always need a race,” said Curatolo. “This time he was ready to go, he was in race mode and that was his race to win and he did it.”
Bachalard was also happy to take the win and dedicated it to his team. “Maybe he’ll do better over a longer distance, we might try him over 1,400m,” he said.