Al Ajeeb W’Rsan, Mujeeb and Onward winners of the first meeting in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club staged their first fixture of the new campaign on Sunday evening, November 8. The meeting kicked off with a 1400m maiden for horses foaled in the UAE and proved a memorable occasion for apprentice Hugo Lebouc who, on just his eighth local mount, registered his first winner aboard Al Ajeeb W’Rsan (Dilijans x Al Jummana W'Rsan by Monarch AH) for Jaci Wickham, immediately equaling her tally from last season.
Sporting the silks of Sheikh Hazza bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Lebouc, who is based at Al Asayl Stables with fellow Frenchman Eric Lemartinel, settled his mount in midfield before asking him to close just after halfway. Switched wide off the home bend, they flew home to snatch the initiative about 150m out and staying on strongly to win well.
A 4-year-old colt, the winner was making just his fourth racecourse appearance and has finished second on debut and third on his previous appearance in March.
A delighted Lebouc, who was a replacement for the injured Pat Dobbs, said: “I have 14 winners in France and it is great to get one here and so early in my first season here in the UAE.”
Mujeeb ridden by Fabrice Veron
Lebouc appeared set to complete a rapid double in the following 1400m maiden, for 3-year-olds, having gone straight to the front on the Lemartinel-trained debutante Almahroosa, only to be collared close home by Fabrice Veron aboard stable companion Mujeeb (Dahess x Nymphea Du Paon by Mahabb) for the trainer’s main patron, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In a race all 12 were appearing in public for the first time, there was drama at the start where Oboe deposited the unfortunate Adrie de Vries on the Abu Dhabi turf. Meanwhile, Almahroosa led the field at a decent gallop, tracked by Mujeeb and the pair appeared to have the race to themselves throughout the short straight, before RB Kindred threw down a late challenge under apprentice Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, just failing to snatch second.
Veron said: “That is a good result for the team with both horses making good debuts. The filly had a very light weight and my horse has had to work very hard to get past, but has shown a very good attitude.He is a horse I like and one who should improve and will stay further.”
It was then a similar story in a 2200m handicap with AF Al Aassi making a bold bid from the front under Bernardo Pinheiro, only to be denied close home by Onward (Munjiz x Samrah by Akbar) but having enough left in the tank to hold on for second ahead of Waadh. Ridden by Connor Beasley, the 5-year-old has now won four times for Abdallah Al Hammadi and his main patron, Al Ajban Stables. Having been well away from the stalls, Beasley was content to bide his time, settling nearer last than first before easing into contention on the back straight. Once in the home straight, they finished with purpose to lead in the final 25m.
Beasley said: “This is a very versatile horse and was in good form last season on both turf and dirt. Last season included wins for him over this course and distance, so I knew conditions were not a problem and he has really finished his race off strongly.”
Source: Emirates Racing Authority
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