Abu Dhabi doubles for Al Neyadi & Al Balushi before Mordin shines in Thoroughbred finale

What appeared a competitive 2200m handicap, the only Thoroughbred contest on the card, concluded Thursday’s proceedings at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club but that proved not to be the case with Royston Ffrench delivering Mordin halfway up the straight to post a relatively straightforward success for Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah and Salem bin Ghadayer, Ffrench picking correctly from the trainer’s two runners.

Initially settled in midfield, hugging the rail, the 8yo gelded on of Invincible Spirit eased onto the heels of the leaders on the home turn before producing a withering turn of foot to take control with more than 200m remaining.

Mordin was registering a fifth career victory, but first in the UAE after ten fruitless previous attempts, and had clearly taken a lot of benefit from his seasonal return when well beaten behind stablemate Tenbury Wells at Jebel Ali. He also never threatened on his only previous dirt outing, at Meydan, on New Years Day.

A good quality 1200m handicap was won in determined fashion by AF Thayer, perhaps never headed under Tadhg O’Shea riding for Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and the owner’s principal trainer Ernst Oertel.

In doing so, the 5yo homebred entire was registering a fifth career success, after 11 starts, a fourth over 1200m but a first on turf, at just the third attempt.

O’Shea said: “He has always shown plenty of speed but also has a great attitude to go with it, which makes my job easier, so all credit to the horse.”

Of equal merit, the following 1600m handicap was to provide rookie trainer Nisren Mahrgoub his very first winner, Pat Cosgrave delivering the breakthrough success aboard Abu Dhabi Racing’s Reem Baynounah, the 5yo entire now victorious in a third of his 12 career outings.

Having been reluctant to load, Cosgrave’s amount was a lot more obliging during the race, settling in midfield before unleashed in the straight to register a fourth victory, all on the Abu Dhabi turf, suffering defeat just once on the capital’s grass surface to date.

For horses in private ownership, a 1600m handicap went to Shoja’a Muscat, owned and trained by Khalifa Al Neyadi and always in command once hitting the front with about 225m remaining under Saif Al Balushi.

Trainer and jockey were celebrating a double just 30 minutes later, Al Balushi producing an almost carbon copy effort aboard Adleh to land a 2200m handicap for horses foaled in the UAE for owner Sheikh Dheyab bin Tahnoon Al Tahyan, giving the owner a 10% strike rate with three winners from 30 runners.

Homebred, the 5yo mare, who was doubling her career account, was not the fastest away but soon found a nice position in midfield before, as with his previous winner, Al Balushi asked for a winning effort in the straight and his mount did not disappoint.

The opening maiden over 1200m, for 3yos foaled locally, was contested by 12 previously unraced youngsters with JAP Ytwaad producing a fairly impressive success, overcoming forfeiting ground at the start under Jean Van Overmaire for Irfan Ellahi and the trainer’s main patron, Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum.

Having raced in rear, after his slow start, in the early stages, the homebred colt made smooth progress entering the home turn before attacking in the straight, hitting the front inside the final 225m and staying on strongly.

Ellahi said: “That was a great race for his first run and I was very pleased with both horse and jockey. He will improve with that first experience behind him.”