Ashton Tourettes stuns Group 3 field for biggest career prize in Abu Dhabi
Mullen and O’Shea ride two winners each on Monday
Monday’s meeting, January 24, on the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club turf was highlighted by the 1200m Group 3 Al Ruwais, ultimately won convincingly by Ashton Tourettes (No Risk Al Maury x Neida Tourettes by Dormane), one of four who passed the 200m pole locked in a battle.
Saddled by Ibrahim Aseel for Ziad Galadari, the 7yo responded gallantly to the urgings of Pat Dobbs and had the race in safe keeping entering the final 75m.
It was a fifth career victory for the 7yo and third on turf but by far his most significant and connections were obviously delighted with the big race success.
Dobbs said: “That was a lovely spare ride and he travelled superbly throughout before really quickening. I was quite impressed by him.”
In the 2200m HH The President Cup Prep, a conditions contest, Richard Mullen produced Mujeeb (Dahess x Nymphea Du Paon by Mahabb) with a perfectly timed challenge to hit the front entering the final 200m after which they never looked in any danger for Salim Al Ketbi and HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Settled nearer last than first in the first half of the race, the homebred 5yo entire made smooth progress leaving the back straight before throwing down his decisive challenge over the final 300m.
It was a third career success, from just ten starts, but first since December 2020.
Mullen said: “He is potentially a very nice horse but we are still learning about but he definitely has a touch of class and could be a star for the yard going forward.”
Afforded Prestige status, the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup only attracted a field of six but it produced a thrilling finish with Jawal Al Reef (Bibi De Carrere x Darffa by Kesberoy) snatching victory right on the line to deny Hameem (Valiant Boy x RB Burn Baby Burn by TH Richie ) a repeat victory in the race. Sporting the silks of Saif Asheer Ali Sulaiman Al Mazrouei. Antonio Fresu was in the saddle for trainer Abubakar Daud.
A 9yo entire, the horse was registering a sixth career success, all in the UAE and fifth on the Abu Dhabi turf.
Fresu said: “He stays well so I was keen to go for home early but Hameem is a very tough opponent so my horse had to really battle.”
Bernardo Pinheiro, riding in the colours of Mohamed Mosabbah Mohammed Al Mazrouei for trainer Qaiss Aboud, probably never saw another rival winning the opening 1000m maiden for horses foaled in the UAE aboard MM Al Balqaa (AF Sanadek x AF Faowahah by Al Kesbe), a first ever local winner for the owner and maiden success this season for the trainer.
After a fast start, the 4yo filly was clear of her ten rivals by halfway and never looked likely to be caught, opening her account at the fifth attempt.
Pinheiro said: “She has always worked well and shown plenty of speed so the trip, especially with a low weight, was always going to suit. The runner-up was closing but my filly had plenty left.”
Tadhg O’Shea then employed virtually identical tactics in the second division of that 1000m maiden for horses born locally, soon in front aboard 5yo homebred debutant AF Rasam (AF Al Buraq x Azwa by Kaolino) and never looking in any real danger for his main employer Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Ernst Oertel who the trains the vast majority of the owner’s horses.
Oertel said: “We have always liked him and been patient, giving him plenty of time but we think he is pretty smart and will certainly stay further.”
There was a distinct feeling of déjà vu after the following 2200m Wathba Stallions Cup for Private Owners Only O’Shea again made every post a winning one, albeit only just, on the same connections’ AF Mukhrej (AF Al Buraq x Warda Al Maury by Kudor).
Another Al Nabooda homebred, the 6yo entire was winning for the third time in succession having landed a 2000m maiden on dirt at Sharjah in early December and a handicap over this Abu Dhabi 2200m just last Monday.
Oertel said: “He has improved with each run and can hopefully continue to do so because he is tough and has plenty of ability.”
The only Thoroughbred race was a 1400m maiden and final race on the card, Richard Mullen completing a double aboard Nibraas (Uncle MO x Conquest Curlgirl by Curlin), trained by Nicholas Bachalard for Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Source: Emirates Racing Authority
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