02 March 2015

Sheikh Mansour and Al Jahouri Land Third G1 Liwa Oasis 1st & 2nd

Sunday evening’s Abu Dhabi meeting was highlighted by the 1400m Group 1 Liwa Oasis and, for the third consecutive year, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his main trainer, Majed Al Jahouri, combined to supply first and second.

This year it was Sha’Red who landed the spoils, denying last year’s winner Areem who was also second in 2013. Formerly trained by Yousef Al Bloushi, including when beating Areem in the 1000m Group 3 four weeks ago, the winner was having his first start for Al Jahouri.

Areem actually broke the track record when winning this last year and was jumped out in front by Ahmed Ajtebi as he tried to make all as he had done 12 months ago when ridden by Silvestre De Sousa.

The tactic looked likely to pay off at halfway but Ajtebi’s mount started to tire in the straight and had no answer to Sha’Red who swept past, under De Sousa, to win going away.

“Sha’Red has now won his last two starts and has been running consistently well since arriving in the UAE last season,” said Al Jahouri.

“This was a very good performance because we all know Areem is a very useful performer. Sha’Red will be put away now and we will aim at next season’s National Day Cup.

“This was his first Group One success and we think he is improving. He has the speed over 1000m but stays this trip well and we think he will easily get the 1600m of the National Day Cup.

“Areem seems to have lost a bit of his speed and we think needs 2000m now. Turf is his surface and it is hard to find an ideal race for him. He too is finished for the season.

Connections were celebrating a course and distance double having landed the opening maiden with Da’Areen, a four-year-old filly who was losing her maiden tag at the 13th attempt but whose two previous outings had been in Group Three company.

De Sousa always looked confident, tracking stable companion Sayya’Ad, ridden by apprentice Saeed Al Mazrouei before sweeping past him at the top of the straight and setting sail for home.

They never looked likely to be caught and were always holding the late challenge of Tadhg O’Shea on RB Burning Ash.

“She is a nice filly,” said De Sousa. “I was always going well and was pretty confident once I hit the front we would not be caught.

“This should do her confidence the power of good.”

The main support race, the 2400m Group Three concluding round of the Arabian Triple Crown, was won comfortably by Namrood, trained by Salem Al Ketbi and ridden by Tadhg O’Shea.

Their task was made a lot easier with stable companion Shaheer, winner of last week’s Group 3 middle round over 2200m (when Namrood was second) and O’Shea’s intended mount, was declared a non-runner.

Only four went to post and O’Shea was happy to take a lead from Royston Ffrench on ES Kram before easing his mount to the front fully 1600m out. Momentarily, Newboy Du Paon looked as he may throw down a challenge for Eric Lemartinel and Gerald Avranche but it never materialised and O’Shea did not have to get too serious with the winner.

“He is a very good horse,” said O’Shea. “He only made his local debut last week and came out of that very well. This was a nice confidence booster for him and hopefully there is a lot more to come from him.

“These small field races can be very tactical so I was happy to be positive as I knew he would be hard to catch.”

As well as Shaheer winning last week’s middle leg of the series, Al Ketbi also won the 1600m opening leg of the series with Abhaar, like Namrood and Shaheer owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2200m handicap, was won in thrilling fashion by Prince Suhail, doubling his career tally and opening his UAE account at the third attempt.

Trained by Erwan Charpy, he was ridden by the handler’s French compatriot, Gerald Avranche who did well to maintain the partnership when his mount stumbled leaving the stalls.

As a result they were in rear for the majority of the race and virtually last 500m out as the runners turned for home.

However, he unleashed a telling turn of foot down the centre of the track to lead inside the final 100m.

“He really picked up well in the straight,” said Avranche. “They went pretty quick for a 2200m race and my fellow has really stayed on strongly.”

Avranche was to complete a double on the remarkable Ain Jaloot, winner of a 1000m handicap for Eric Lemartinel and recording a fifth consecutive success, three of which have been over this course and distance.

“What is left to say about this horse?” asked Avranche. “He has been a revelation and very well placed by the trainer.”

The Jaber Bittar-trained Monawer, without a win since landing the Emirates Colts’ Classic in February 2013, remedied that statistic with victory in a conditions race over the same 1600m course and distance as his big win over two years ago.

Ridden by Jesus Rosales, he was never far off the pace before shooting clear with 300m remaining. The race was effectively over at this point and Monawer ran on strongly to record a fourth career success.

“He deserved that,” said Rosales. “He has run some good races in defeat this season and did that well today.”

The finale, a 1200m handicap, was won by UBU Al Mels, ridden by Royston Ffrench for Mohd Ramadan.