Abu Dhabi treble for Fresu highlighted by impressive big race success

Bahar Muscat ridden by Antonio Fresu


Racing on the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club turf on February 7 was officially highlighted by the Arabian Triple Crown R1, a 1600m Listed affair for the 4yo Classic generation in which 11 went to post but only one really mattered, Bahar Muscat (AF Albahar x Maadi by Hatteen) proving far too good under Antonio Fresu.

Riding in the silks of Muscat Stud for Purebred Arabians and trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, Fresu kept it simple and was happy to take a lead throughout the first half of the race before taking the contest ‘by the scruff of the neck’ entering the home turn.

Soon clear, the homebred colt had the race in safekeeping with fully 300m remaining and is now unbeaten after four starts, one on dirt in Muscat last January and three over this Abu Dhabi 1600m, including the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship on his most recent start, 50 days ago in the middle of December.

The trainer was completing a double on the card whereas Fresu was going one better as this was his third winner on a productive evening.

Fresu said: “He is a very smart colt and an absolute pleasure to rise. He has improved with each start and just has a touch of class. It was quite windy out there and he pricked his ears briefly in the straight but soon concentrated again and then ran on strongly. He is smart.”

AF Falaq ridden by Antonio Fresu


Earlier, Fresu could not have timed his challenge any better in the opening 1200m maiden for horses foaled in the UAE, delivering AF Falaq (AF Maqam Alezz x AF Sed by Madoua De Piboul) to snatch the spoils right on the line for Ahmed Al Shemaili and the Al Buraq Syndicate.

It was actually a thrilling conclusion to the dash because he passed both AF Bara’e (AF Kalraed x SS Misk by AF Albahar) and ES Ajab (Azzam Al Zobair x Bent Al Asayl by Djebel Lotois), who finished behind him in that order, in the dying strides to open his account at the fifth attempt.

Raced twice in late 2020, the 6yo entire was not seen again until January and was making it third time lucky in 2022.

Fresu said: “He had shown some ability in the past but that really fast gallop has suited him because he certainly stays 1400m so it was a big help to have something to aim at.”

Mutaqadim ridden by Antonio Fresu


Fresu later completed a double, landing a 2200m handicap in taking style aboard Mutaqadim (Azadi x Lilly Rock by Akbar) for the Omani Royal Cavalry and Al Hadhrami.

Settled well off the early pace, Fresu inched closer on the home turn before unleashing the homebred 5yo entire down the centre of the track to hit the front just inside the 200m marker and the pair powering home.

Raced just eight times, Al Hadhrami’s charge now has three victories to his name having won half of his four starts on dirt and opening his turf account at the fourth attempt here.

He arrived in good form having won his previous outing, over 2000m at Al Ain, defeating Oss who was victorious at the same venue yesterday.

AF Majalis ridden by Tadhg O'Shea


A 1200m handicap was won convincingly by AF Majalis (AF Albahar x Khute by Djouras Tu), Tadhg O’Shea riding for his main employer Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and the Champion Owner’s principal trainer Ernst Oertel.

Homebred, the 6yo entire chased the fast early pace before closing on the home turn and quickening to the front inside the final 275m after which he was never going to be caught.

This was his fourth career success, all at Abu Dhabi, and third over this 1200m course and distance, the other achieved over 1600m.

O’Shea said: “He stays further so I knew if I was close turning for home I was in with a big chance and so it proved. This horse seems to save his best for Abu Dhabi and it is always nice to get one on the board for the boss.”

AF Fakhama ridden by Fernando Jara


It was then the turn of Fernardo Jara to time his challenge to perfection in the 2200m handicap Wathba Stallions Cup for Private Owners Only, he and AF Fakhama (Al Kesbe x AF Hakimah by Amer) snatching a last gasp success for Abu Dhabi Racing and Mohamed Daggash, the 8yo gelding actually shedding his maiden tag in the process after 21 previous attempts.

Jesus Rosales looked to have stolen the race when kicking early leader Al Bateen (Al Nasr x Akbaa by Akbar) clear at the top of the relatively short straight but his mount weakened markedly in the final 100m, allowing Jara to finish fast and wide to deny him.

Jara said: “I have actually finished second twice on this horse in the past so it is nice to finally win on him and I am very pleased for the connections.”

Poster Paint ridden by Pat Cosgrave


The finale and only Thoroughbred contest on the card was a 1600m maiden and Pat Cosgrave went straight to the front on Poster Paint (Postponed x Colour Play by Medaglia D'Oro) and stayed there for Bhupat Seemar and Al Rashid Stables LLC.

A gelded son of Postponed, he was making it third time lucky having been unplaced on one start for Godolphin in Ireland last August and finishing well beaten on his local and dirt debut, over 1200m, at Jebel Ali three weeks ago.

Source: Emirates Racing Authority

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