Somoud bounces back to defend his President Cup crown in Abu Dhabi feature

Somoud ridden by Adrie de Vries


Monday’s prestigious HH The President Cup fixture in Abu Dhabi was officially highlighted by the 2200m Purebred Arabian Group One version of the coveted prize and won by a resurgent Somoud (Munjiz x Wadya by Akbar (FR), defending his crown in gritty fashion.

Confidently ridden by Adrie de Vries, Jean de Roualle’s stable star loomed into contention on the home turn before hitting the front halfway up the short straight, the 8yo homebred entire staying on gamely to repeat his victory in the Group 1 HH The President Cup of 12 months ago for Yas Racing.

It was a fourth outing this campaign for the horse who had been somewhat disappointing thus far this season. After winning this last year he then successfully defended his crown in the Emirates Championship over the same 2200m and his most likely next assignment.

De Roualle said: “He is a great horse and we have never lost faith in him but he had been a bit disappointing so we changed a few things and put the blinkers back on so we are delighted it worked out.”

De Vries added: “I am delighted for Jean, his team and the owners. It is great to see him bounce back and, as Jean just said to me, this is a race he loves to target and win.”

AF Afham ridden by Tadhg O'Shea


In the 1600m Wathba Stallions Cup for Private Owners Only, went the way, as so many similar races do, to Ernst Oertel and Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda with the owner’s retained jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, making evert post a winning one aboard turf debutant AF Afham (AF Alsalaam x Amirat Al Jazeera by Za'eem Asf), making it third time lucky in his fledgling career.

Unsighted on his first start back in late November at Al Ain, he was then narrowly denied when runner-up at Jebel Ali and never saw another rival here to win stylishly.

O’Shea said: “He is a nervous type but a nice, big horse and he should improve as he grows up and matures. It was a good run at Jebel Ali last time and he has built on that nicely here although he was getting a bit lonely in the staright. There should, hopefully, be more to come and, as he learns, he should cope dropping in trip as he has plenty of natural pace.”

Source: Emirates Racing Authority

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