ABU DHABI // A piece of history was created when Areem, trained by an Emirati, ridden by an Emirati and owned by an Emirati, won the National Day Cup for the Purebred Arabians.
Ahmed Ajtebi made every yard of the running on the Mahabb colt to win the Group 1 race over the mile distance in the silks of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed tonight at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
"Areem is still a baby and with more race experience he will get better. He's not an easy horse to train but I am sure will get better with a few more races under his belt," said Majed Al Jahouri, the trainer.
"He's won his two races this season and looking beyond the President's Cup in Abu Dhabi, the Maktoum Challenge and the Dubai Kahayla Classic would be the objectives for him."
Ajtebi was onboard when he ran a similar race to win the Sheikh Zayed Cup over the course and distance in the opening race of the season in Abu Dhabi on November 11.
His second run was even better as he won by six lengths from Nieshan, a multiple Group 1 winner and the highest rated (122) in the 14-runner field.
"He settled down much better in this race than he did when I last rode him," Ajtebi said.
"He almost knocked me down in the gates last time. He came out nicely this time to settle in front. He likes to kick off as soon as the gates open. I tried to hold him up for the first four furlongs and then let him go."
Al Jahouri was completing a double on the night after Laahaq under Carlos Sanchez took the second race.
Derbaas was a convincing winner of the thoroughbred equivalent and will return for the President of the UAE Cup in two weeks.
"I don't see any reason why we wouldn't run him in Abu Dhabi again after two excellent runs," Ali Rashid Al Raihe, the UAE champion trainer, said.
"He is versatile and the plan is to run him in the Dubai World Cup Carnival after the President's Cup. He looks a much improved horse than he was last season.
"He was impressive when he won the Prep race of the Cup three weeks ago and was even better for his second run."
Dane O'Neill settled the son of Seeking The Gold in fourth before getting to work approaching the final bend and then spread eagling the field to win by four-and-a-quarter lengths from Jaasoos, the winner of this race in 2009 and 2010, and now twice the runner up.
"The age is catching up with him but nevertheless he ran a good race and was beaten only by a better horse on the night," Dhruba Selvaratnam, said of the eight-year-old gelded son of Noverre, who will return to defend the President of the UAE Cup on December 23.
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE