Muntazah Claims HH The President Cup In Abu Dhabi Meet

Thoroughbreds took centre stage at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening with the latest renewal of the Listed 1400m Listed His Highness The President Cup. First run in 1994, the prominent race was won in style by Muntazah, trained by Doug Watson for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum with the owner claiming the prize for the fifth time in six years.

Originally settled just behind the early leaders, Muntazah always appeared to be travelling well and, once sent for home by Crowley about 300m out, never looked likely to be denied. The 5-year-old was chased home by the same owner’s Eqtiraan, trained by Al Rashid Al Rayhi as was the third-placed Portamento.

“He is a really nice horse and one we have high hopes for. Unfortunately he had a bad draw in his race at the carnival and that proved too much of an obstacle for him,” Watson said: “He has done this well and, hopefully, he is going to be an exciting horse for us next season.”

Earlier, Richard Mullen advertised just why he is the reigning UAE Champion Jockey when producing Rmmas fast and late to land the 1400m Group 2 Liwa Oasis, one of the Purebred Arabian highlights on the card. Racing in midfield throughout the first half of the race, Rmmas made smooth progress at the top of the straight but still had plenty of his 14 rivals in front of him. However, once pulled wider, Rmmas who is trained by Jean de Roualle for Yas Horse Racing Management responded well to Mullen’s urgings producing a telling late dash to land the spoils.

Mullen said: “Fair play to the horse because drawn nine in a big competitive field like that is never ideal. He won nicely here over 1200m last time but that was from a nice low draw whereas today we were out wider. The jockey continued: “That is now three wins for the horse from just four UAE starts and, trip wise, he seems very versatile. I imagine that will be his last race of the campaign and, fingers crossed, he will be an exciting sort for next season.”

The 1400m Group 2 Arabian Triple Crown R2, restricted to four-year-olds, went to Goshawke, partnered by Fernando Jara for trainer Abdallah Al Hammadi and his main patron Al Ajban Stables. Another winner ridden patiently, in his case after a slow start, Goshawke was settled in about fourth, but not far off the lead before being asked to win his race about 300m from home and, once out in front, always appeared the likely victor.

Jara said: “We thought we had a live chance coming here this evening and everything pretty much to plan.”

The maximum field allowed, of 16 went to post for the opening 1400m maiden, but in reality, very few ever looked likely to influence the result. Tracking the early pace, Brett Doyle in the infamous predominantly green colours of Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, always looked happy aboard JAP Burhan. The 4-year-old was having his third start but first on turf and once they hit the front entering the straight the result was never in much doubt.
Riding for trainer Irfan Ellahi, Doyle was continuing a good recent run and said: “I have enjoyed a lot of success here in the UAE over the years but, basically, am back this year with Godolphin and Charlie Appleby as a work rider. The jockey continued: “I have been lucky to pick up a few spare rides and now have managed a few winners which is great.”

The 1400m conditions race looked quite open on paper but was actually won is some style by AF AL Almaa, ridden by Silvestre De Sousa for trainer Ernst Oertel. Homebred by Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, AF AL Almaa only had one previous victory to his name, over 1400m at Al Ain in 2014 on their previous all-weather surface, but had run plenty of good races in defeat.

De Sousa, riding him for the first time, said: “He always travelled well and it was just a case of reminding him he was in a race at the top of the straight. He then responded well and from there we were never in much danger.”

The final two races on the card were 1600m handicaps, both won by horses trained for reigning Champion Owner, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, by Ernst Oertel. First to step to the plate was AF Wagas, ridden by Antonio Fresu before stablemate, AF Asheham followed up in the hands of Silvestre De Sousa.