Doubles for O’Shea, Oertel & Al Nabooda before Seemar lands Abu Dhabi highlight

Monday’s meeting at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club was arguably highlighted by the finale and only Thoroughbred contest, a 1400m handicap which went to Bhupat Seemar’s Ranchero, the mount of Pat Cosgrave for Diarmuid Clohessy.

A first UAE winner for the owner, at just the second attempt with the only horse to have raced for him locally, the 4yo Kodiac colt was doubling his career tally, on his sixth start, having won a 1700m novice stakes in the Godolphin silks, for John & Thady Gosden ay Nottingham last May.

Never far off the pace under Cosgrave, the colt was produced to throw down his challenge early in the short straight, the pair hitting the front with about 250m remaining. The jockey found a willing partner and they galloped on strongly to land the spoils stylishly.

Cosgrave said: “The Seemar horses are in great form so you always have to be hopeful when you get to ride them and this fellow has done that well.
“He is young and has not had much racing so you would like to think there is improvement to come.”

The fixture kicked off with a 2200m handicap which provided Shamakh the perfect opportunity to shed his maiden tag at the ninth attempt on his third outing in the UAE.

Saddled by Jean-Claude Pecout for Yas Racing, the homebred 5yo entire was settled in midfield before being delivered with his winning challenge by Fernando Jara in the final 150m. They always appeared to be doing enough to hold the late thrust of Kesra.

Pecout said: “Fernando has ridden him perfectly because he is not an easy horse for his jockey and needs to lead as late as possible.
“He probably should have won before now but he does not make it easy for his jockeys so I am delighted for him and the whole team.
“He was second first time, then third but could have won both times. He acts on dirt but is better on turf I think.”

Jaber Bittar has returned to the training ranks, having been absent since 2016, in 2022 and opened his account for the season at the fifth attempt when debutante Daad finished strongly to land a 1200m maiden for 4yo fillies foaled in the UAE.

Ridden by Dane O’Neill for Al Reef Stables, she was settled in the middle of the main pack while MM Al Balqaa set a blistering gallop out in front on her own.

As O’Neill edged his mount closer, it was only in the final 200m the early leader started to tire and was only passed in the final 100m.

The equivalent 1200m maiden for colts and geldings followed and Tadhg O’Shea deployed similar tactics to those used by O’Neill 30 minutes earlier aboard AF Ghayyar.

Riding for Ernst Oertel and his main employer, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, O’Shea was happy to take his time in behind the leaders before asking the homebred colt to challenge at the top of the straight.

The response was telling and they swept to the front with about 175m remaining and were never going to be caught, the colt building on a promising debut fifth, over 1400m, in the Abu Dhabi Classic a month ago.

Oertel said: “He ran well first time and we thought this 1200m would suit him for his second race but we will certainly try 1400m, perhaps even 1600m.
“He is a nice young horse and works well on dirt at home but I think we will stick to the turf for now.”

An hour later connections were celebrating a double after O’Shea made every post a winning one aboard AF Musannef in a 1400m handicap.

Initially the first reserve, the homebred 8yo entire took full advantage of the opportunity afforded to him, recording a third career success in the process, as well as a second over this 1400m Abu Dhabi course and distance having landed a similar handicap last March.

For horses in private ownership, a 1200m handicap was won fairly comfortably by Gold Silver, produced to lead at the 200m pole by Sandro Paiva with the race soon in safekeeping.

Prepared in Sharjah by Ibrahim Aseel for Ziad Galadari, the 6yo entire always looked to be travelling well before quickening nicely over the final 300m to register his fourth career success and second this season having also won over 1400m on the Al Ain dirt in November.

This was actually his maiden turf victory at the sixth attempt and he is clearly versatile which should provide connections plenty of options.