Rasi wins the the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah at Meydan
Rasi wins the the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah at Meydan Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Omani conditioner Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi would have pinched himself on Thursday night after he got first time lucky in the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah, one of the top Purebred Arabian contests in the Dubai World Cup Carnival schedule.

Rasi delivered the prestigious mile affair with a tremendous turn foot as he belied his nine years under a crafty Harry Bentley to win by neathy three lengths from Eric Lemartinel’s RB Lam Tara the ride of Fabrice Veron. Finishing third, a neck behind, was Wadeeaa, the charge of Ana Mendez, who had Szczepan Mazur in the saddle.

Bentley kept Rasi mid-division for most of it but with 700m left to run, the Omani raider started to pick up the pace and he was swung wide in the home stretch where he took up the running from Wadeeaa to win comfortably.

Rasi’s rider Bentley said: “I know him well and we wanted to utilise the draw (No.1) well and we won. The draw helped me and it was comfortable.”

Thursday’s Gulf News-sponsored card featured several prep races for the $35 million Dubai World Cup meeting on March 28, with showcase events being the the $250,000 Group 2 Balanchine over 1,800 metres and the $200,000 Group 2 Firebreak Stakes over a mile.

Rajeev Khanna, Commercial Director, Gulf News, Publish Sales commented: “The year 2020 is a very exciting year for us on the equestrian front.

“Together with Meydan we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dubai World Cup, but it is a double celebration for us, as it is also the Silver Jubilee of the Dubai Golden Shaheen that we have sponsored since its inception.

“Today’s card looked exciting and it certainly has lived up to expectations. We had a full house of guests who enjoyed every bit of the evening and the high-standard of flat-racing that we, as a newspaper, are privelidged to have been part of for over two decades.”

Gulf News, the sports-loving and leading English language newspaper in the Gulf, has been a long-standing partner of flat-racing and equestrian event in Dubai.

Its association with racing in Dubai began in 1992 when the first official meeting was held at Nad Al Sheba racecourse, the pioneering racing venue that helped launch the sport in the UAE.

In 1993 Gulf News became the sponsor of the Nad Al Sheba Sprint, a race that would be promoted to the inaugural Dubai World Cup card in 1996.

In 2000, the race was renamed the Gulf News Golden Shaheen, and is recognised as one of the most prestigious sprint races run anywhere in the world.

In a short span of two years, the sprint achieved Group 1 status in 2002. The Dubai Golden Shaheen also joined Global Sprint Challenge and represents the third leg of the 10-race series.

The Golden Shaheen currently offers a purse of $2.5million overall.