DUBAI // Ali Rashid al Raihe achieved what might turn out to be the performance of the season by a trainer at Meydan Racecourse last night, claiming three winners and a one-two-three in the Dh110,000 feature race.
Al Raihe, who has drawn blanks at Sharjah and Abu Dhabi racecourses so far this season, has found an affinity for Meydan. All of his five victories this term have come on the Tapeta track.
And al Raihe's support proved fortunate for his former apprentice jockey, Ahmed Ajtebi. Back in Dubai after the European summer season, the Emirati rode Derbaas to victory for his old master in the mile-long Meydan Hotel feature.
"I'm very grateful to Ali," said Ajtebi, who was last seen in the UAE winning the Dubai World Cup-night Godolphin Mile with Godolphin's Calming Influence. He also won October's Group One Premio Gran Criterium in Italy on Godolphin's Biondetti.
"Ali guided me at the start of my career and he still supports me now with rides.
"I have been out of my country all season, working hard and I hope that this hard work pays off this season. It's great to get a winner on my first meeting back in Dubai and especially good to get one for Ali."
Al Raihe's second and third in the same race were Il Grande Maurizio ridden by the stable jockey Royston Ffrench and Aamaaq, with Tadhg O'Shea in the irons.
Also scoring for al Raihe's Grandstand Stable was Rochdale under Ffrench, winning the night's second big-money contest, the Dh110,000 Meydan City Corporation over 2000m.
Emirates Sports and Ffrench combined for victory in the 1400m Meydan Freezone and al Raihe just missed out on a fourth win when denied by Dhruba Selvaratnam's improving filly, Alo Pura and Irish jockey Kieren Fallon in the last race of the night.
Jailani Siddiqi, assistant trainer to al Raihe, said the pair's horses were hitting form. "We are quite confident at the moment and it's great when the horses are running as well as this."
AF Amthaal won the opening Arabian contest under William Supple
"He can be lazy," said AF Amthaal's trainer, Bakhit al Ketbi. "Luckily he is a fast finisher."