Adventurous Lands Abu Dhabi Thoroughbred Feature

The Thoroughbreds took centre stage at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, their sole race, a 1400m handicap being the most valuable on the card and it produced the best finish, Adventurous prevailing in a race the majority of the 13 runners were still in contention entering the final 350m.

As is almost always the case, the final race of six and only Thoroughbred contest on the evening, it appeared Shanaghai City, fifth at Meydan on Thursday, was going to make it three wins from his four most recent starts, leading from the outset under Jesus Rosales. Entering the final 100m they were battling on grimly, finally headed by Sandro Paiva and Adventurous who then had to dig deep with Daffg and Mashaheer finishing fast, but just too late, to snatch second and third from a tiring Shanaghai City.

Owned by Ahmed Belqasem, the 8-year-old Invincible Spirit entire was opening his local account at the seventh attempt, doubling his career tally in the process. He was also adding to a treble his trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi celebrated at Meydan on Thursday.

Paiva said: “We went very close last time when I perhaps was perhaps too prominent on him, so we agreed to ride him a bit more patiently tonight and, thankfully, it has worked out perfectly. It has been a very good weekend for myself and the whole team with the horses in great form.”

The meeting kicked off with a 2200m handicap, arguably the best of the Purebred Arabian races on the card, in which a slow start proved no hindrance to Jawal Al Reef who ran out a relatively comfortable winner under Fernando Jara. Unfazed by missing the break, Jara settled his mount in second last of the 14 runners until the pair made stealthy headway at the end of the back straight, closing on the leaders as the field turned for home. Once in the short straight, they hit the front about 275m from home and never looked in danger afterwards, the 8-year-old entire repeating his course and distance victory of his previous start, a month ago.

It was a fifth career success, from just 16 starts, for the horse who was saddled here by Ahmed Al Mehairbi for Saif Asheer Ali Sulaiman Al Mazrouei.

Al Mehairbi said: “I was not worried by the slow start because he did that last time and still won. Fernando Jara is a world class jockey who did not panic and rode a great race. We are all delighted.”

A capacity field of 16 may have contested a 1600m handicap, but at least half of them were never able to land a blow in a race that developed into a duel over the final 50m between old rivals Dassan Da and AF Seven Skies. The former denied the latter, over course and distance a month ago but AF Seven Skies gained his revenge, leading in the final strides under Bernardo Pinherio. After 16 starts without a win, the 7-year-old entire was finally getting his head in front, thrice finishing runner-up his best previous efforts, and he clearly delighted connections who greeted him enthusiastically. Owned by Humaid Amhi Al Mansouri, it was a first winner of the season for him, at just the fourth attempt, and second for trainer Qaiss Aboud.

Pinheiro said: “We were second to today’s runner-up last time but had a weight advantage this and that time was my horse’s first run of the season, so he improved fitness wise. I have been going to Sharjah regularly to ride these horses, so it is nice to get a winner for the trainer.”

For 4-year-old fillies foaled in the UAE, a 1200m maiden was won fairly comfortably by Almahroosa, soon in front under Fabrice Veron and, once ridden clear early in the straight, never in any real danger of defeat for Eric Lemartinel and Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan Al Nahyan. Second on both her first two racecourse appearances, beaten a neck on both occasions over 1400m, the homebred grey then seemed to find 1600m too far, albeit in a better race, here in Abu Dhabi on each occasion.

Veron said: “She ran very well the first twice and is a nice filly who should be competitive in handicaps at least. She has plenty of speed as we saw again tonight.
“You can forgive the third run over a longer trip and we went too quick early on because she is all about speed.”

The equivalent race for colts and geldings was a virtual carbon copy only this time it was Tadhg O’Shea who was never headed, riding AF Sumoud who was making it third time lucky for the jockey’s main employer, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and the owner’s principal trainer, Ernst Oertel. This was a turf debut for the homebred colt, something of a rarity for a Purebred Arabian as he is officially black, who was well beaten on debut before finishing fourth, both previous outings over 1000m at Sharjah.

Oertel said: “This is a nice horse who has always shown plenty of speed and we were keen to try him here on turf which has clearly handled well.”

O’Shea added: “Both owner and trainer have always really liked him and we know why now. He is a lovely looking horse who has plenty of speed and, hopefully, could be useful.”

Connections were soon celebrating a course and distance double after the following 1200m handicap for horses in private ownership, albeit it in totally different fashion with O’Shea producing the hat-trick seeking AF Majalis to lead in the final strides. For the majority of the race it appeared Veron was again to make every post a winning one aboard Jinjal, but O’Shea was never far away with his mount inching closer throughout the final 100m, eventually leading when it mattered. A thrice raced maiden at the start of the season, the homebred 5-year-old entire has now won half of his six starts, adding this success to victories in a course and distance maiden and a 1600m Abu Dhabi handicap. He has only raced on turf.

O’Shea said: “That was a very good performance under a big weight and he is a good, progressive Purebred Arabian and a horse the team have always liked.

“To complete a hat-trick like that is never easy and he has shown a really good, battling, attitude over a trip probably short of his optimum.”