Hawafez and Asif winners of Wathba Stallions Cup in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain

Connor leads Hawafez to victory

Hawafez ridden by Connor Beasley


Third race of the card in Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, January 17, the Wathba Stallions Cup for Private Owners Only, a 1400m handicap produced a landmark first victory, after 47 previous attempts, for trainer Abubakar Daud after Connor Beasley was able to weave through rivals aboard, Hawafez, the pair hitting the front entering the final 200m and winning fairly comfortably.

An entire 8-year-old, it was a fourth victory for Beasley’s mount, all at Abu Dhabi and thrice over this 1400m. His original success was registered for Eric Lemartinel before Beasley won twice on him when he was trained by Ridha ben Attia, most recently in February 2019.
The fight for second place was exciting. Shoja’A Muscat (Za'eem ASF x Noor Jahan by Gerbya, bred and owned by Muscat Stud), ridden by Abdul Aziz Al Balushi and trained by I. Al Hadhrami conquered the position by a difference of head of AF Ashras (AF Al Buraq x Modjalla by Tidjani, bred and owned by Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda) under Tadhg O’Shea and trained by Ernst Oertel.

Beasley said: “I’ve won here twice on this horse before and he certainly seems to save his best for the grass and the bend here, as opposed to the Jebel Ali straight really helps him.

“He ran ok at Jebel Ali the last time, but there was no suitable race for him here at the time so it was worth chancing but these are his optimum conditions.

“They went a decent gallop today which also suited and I was able to find the gaps when I needed them so it all went perfectly.”

Asif recording a comfortable success under Fabrice Veron

Asif ridden by Fabrice Veron


Seven races at Al Ain on Friday evening, January 15, were officially highlighted by a 1800m handicap which was turned into a procession by Asif, one of several winners on the card to benefit from positive tactics one of several winners on the card to benefit from positive tactics in the Wathba Stallions Cup for Private Owners Only.

The fixture kicked off for horses in private ownership with Asif (Dhiaa Al Reef x Hayat by Gerbya) recording a relatively comfortable success under Fabrice Veron, riding for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami in the colours of Mohd Rashid Al Saadi, celebrating his first UAE winner with his ninth runner.

A 4-year-old colt, he was doubling his career tally on his fourth start and remains unbeaten on dirt, winning his 1600m debut at Muscat in March before two Abu Dhabi turf outings in December. Never far off the pace, he took up the running as the leaders entered the long Al Ain straight and was involved in a duel with top weight RB Double Down (General x RB Madymoiselle by Majd Al Arab), ridden by Hugo Leboc, until that rival cried enough with about 150m left and surrendered second place to Amirah in the closing stages.

Al Hadhrami said: “He is a decent little horse who won well first time in Muscat and has not been disgraced in better class races at Abu Dhabi. That was only his fourth start, so he is open to plenty of improvement and he showed a determined attitude which was very pleasing.”

Source and photos: Emirates Racing Authority

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