Doubles For Seemar And Bin Ghadayer In Meydan Opener

Dubai-UAE: November 5, 2020 – Racing at Meydan returned on Thursday evening when the official feature among six races, all on dirt, was the Emirates Airline, a 1400m conditions contest for 3-year-olds and won emphatically by Rio Angie, the only filly among the seven runners.

Sam Hitchcott, replacing Pat Dobbs who had suffered a foot injury riding out, sent the daughter of Honor Code straight to the front and even at halfway it was pretty evident they were not going to be caught. The pair scooting clear on the home turn with the race, as a contest, basically over. Owned by Hamid Radan, Rio Angie clearly likes early November having won on her debut, over this 1400m course and distance, almost exactly a year ago. She was then third in the UAE 1000 Guineas over the same track and trip before stepping up to 1600m when she was fourth in the Listed UAE 1000 Guineas itself. That was in late January and this was her first appearance since.

Watson said: “She is a filly we have always really liked and is a big strong sort, so we were happy to take on the colts. She had a minor wind issue last season, so that was operated on and that was very pleasing to see her win like that.

Watson added: “The owner has a big farm in Iran, so imagine she will end up there as a broodmare, so it is great she has won again.”

The opening 1900m maiden, the Emirates Holidays was won comfortably by Lady Snazz, a second winner of the new campaign for Richard Mullen and first for his main employer, Satish Seemar.

A second success to carry the colours of Michael Hilary Burke and Michael James Burke, the only filly in the race, a 4-year-old daughter of Curlin was settled in third by Mullen before making notable ground leaving the back straight. They passed early leader and eventual runner-up, Litecoin just before entering the straight and never looked in any danger thereafter, the filly losing her maiden tag at the seventh attempt. Only raced in the UAE, her best previous effort had been a distant second, here at Meydan, in a 2000m maiden in January.

Seemar said: “We had this filly since she was a juvenile, but she took a lot of time to come to herself, as many by Curlin do. She is a lot bigger and stronger now, but I must admit, her winning was a bit of a surprise.”

Trainer and jockey doubled up, combining with Kinver Edge who was comfortable winner of The Emirates SkyCargo, a 1400m handicap, probably never headed. Third on his only previous UAE outing, a 1400m turf handicap here at Meydan, the 4-year-old Speighstown gelding was drawn four and Mullen was soon able to get across to the favoured rail. When they shot clear at the top of the straight the result was never in doubt with the colt doubling his career tally on just his sixth start having won a 1600m novice stakes for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby on the Chelmsford all-weather in February 2019. He is now owned by Al Rashid Stables.

Seemar said: “This is a really nice horse and one we have always thought very highly of. He had not run since January, but we were keen to give him plenty of time and have been rewarded.”

For 2-year-olds, the Arabian Adventures, a 1200m maiden attracted a select field of six and a pair of them, Zhou Storm and Rare Ninja, were locked in combat pretty much from the outset.

The former always appeared to be about a nose ahead under Connor Beasley, but was pushed hard throughout by Royston Ffrench and Rare Ninja.

However, Ffrench’s mount, who may have drawn level briefly in the straight, could not get past to give Beasley his first winner of the campaign, but a third for Al Rayhi by whom he is retained this season. A colt by Due Diligence, he was a first winner for owner Elbashir Salem Elhrari whose red and white silks were debuting on a racecourse.

He said: “We were quite hopeful that he could run well and that is obviously a great start in my own colours, but I am also involved with H And B, so have enjoyed some success with them as well.”

Ffrench and trainer Salem bin Ghadayer may have been thwarted there, but were celebrating after the following 1200m handicap, the Emirates Skywards, with Rich And Famous soon in front, kicked clear early in the straight and staying on strongly. They never looked in danger although Royal Sands finished fast, but too late to snatch second. It was a fourth career and second local success for the winner, a 6-year-old homebred gelded son of Bernardini owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohd Al Maktoum. His other UAE victory was registered over 1600m at Al Ain in January and he was only denied close home, over 1400m, at Jebel Ali just last Friday.

Ffrench said: “We were drawn wide, but broke well and were able to get a good position before he picked up nicely and stayed on well. He deserved that after last week.”

The finale, a 2000m handicap, the emirates.com, also went to Bin Ghadayer but this time it was Xavier Ziani in the saddle aboard Firnas who led close home to deny Watson a treble with Big Kitten. A 7-year-old gelded son of Dubawi, it was a second local success for Firnas, owned by Ahmad Ghalita Almheiri.