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Zabeel Stables hit a rich vein of form at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday afternoon with stable jockey Richard Mullen landing three races and trainer, Satish Seemar saddling two winners.
The featured 1000m handicap at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday afternoon was won impressively by Seemar-trained local debutant, Ejbaar, running on strongly in the final 200m to collar Mutahaddith who had tried valiantly to make all under Tadhg O’Shea.
That looked probable until Mullen, riding the middle leg of a treble, conjured a final challenge from Ejbaar who, despite breaking slightly slowly from the stalls, was never far off the speed and powered home in the final 50m to win going away.
A winner once in the UK, when trained by Ed Dunlop for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, having changed owners he was switched to Robert Cowell for whom he ran five times, most recently in September of last year.
Now sporting the colours of Mohd Khalifa Al Basti, who is enjoying a phenomenal season, he looks an exciting recruit to sprinting in the UAE.
“We are probably half surprised but perhaps half expecting that,” said Seemar. “He has been working well but joined us quite late and, after a break, on a different surface and for a new stable, you can never be sure how they will react.
“He will stay further but we will consider our options and we are very pleased with that as it looked a good race."
The meeting opened with the only Purebred Arabian contest, a conditions race over 1800m which was won emphatically by the Ernst Oertel-trained AF Al Jahed who was probably never headed under Mullen and lowered the track record in the process.
Sporting the colours of his breeder, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, it was a third consecutive victory for the winner who has now been successful in half of his career starts. The winning margin of more than six lengths, means AF Al Jahed’s three victories have been achieved by an aggregate distance of just over 30 lengths.
He was chased home on this occasion by the same owner’s AF Manshoum, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi.
“That first win at Al Ain did his confidence the power of good and he has really turned a corner,” said Mullen. “Ernst and his team deserve a lot of credit as this horse had a setback last week and has been swimming rather than galloping.
“It is a great result for the owner who does so well with these horses he has bred and saw one he raced and then sold, AF Mathmoon, win the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan last night.”
Mullen completed his treble, and a double for Seemar, with the ultra comfortable victory of Bochart in the concluding 1200m maiden. Always in front, the pair stormed clear 300m out, crossing the line more than seven lengths clear.
A similar scenario had unfolded, 30 minutes earlier in the 1400m handicap that followed it and in which Fernando Jara, aboard the Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained Modern History, led nearly all the way, only to be denied close home by Salvadori.
Trained by Rashed Bouresly, it was a third course win of the season for Salvadori and second over this 1400m trip with his only defeat during this campaign suffered at Meydan, over 1600m on his most recent start.
Bruno Reis has been in the saddle on all four occasions and said: “He is a very honest horse and responded gamely in the final 100m.”
And then just 30 minutes later, in a second 1400m handicap, there was a distinct sense of déjà vu when Zain Empire led close home. Ridden by Ismail Koyuncu, it was a great training performance from Ahmed Al Shamsi whose charge, a local and dirt debutant, had not run since October 2014.
Ahmad bin Harmash dominated the 1800m handicap, the longest race on the card, saddling Ormindo who beat stable companion Tides Rise with the pair having the race between them throughout the final 200m.
Both were settled in rear before closing 600m out when stable jockey, Colm O’Donoghue, drove Ormindo to the front and they always looked to be holding the challenge of Paolo Sirigu on Tides Rise.
“It was nice to pick the right one in these situations,” said O’Donoghue. “There was very little between them but I just felt Ormindo has had less races this season and, therefore, fresher legs. He did it well in the end. That hill really suits him and it is a great result for the yard.”