ABU DHABI // Il Grande Maurizio underlined his status as a leading candidate for the President's Cup with a fluent win last night at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
The seven year old followed up his victory in the National Day Cup for thoroughbreds last Sunday to complete a hat-trick of wins, having also won on his first appearance of the season at Meydan Racecourse at the beginning of last month.
"He is improving with every run," said Royston Ffrench, who completed a double on the night for his retained Grandstand Stables of Ali Rashid Al Raihe, the UAE champion trainer, after steering Mestor to victory in the second race.
Ffrench has had remarkable success in Abu Dhabi during the past eight days.
In addition to winning on Il Grande Maurizio, last week he was also first home on Sahib Du Clos in the National Day Cup for Purebred Arabians, and last night he claimed the two featured races to take his tally for the season to 12 winners.
"It has been good for me in the last two weeks in Abu Dhabi and that's because of the hard work and team work of the Grandstand Stables for having the horses in good shape," he said.
The double also took Al Raihe's tally of winners for the season to 18 to take him top of the trainers' championship table.
The Emirati was all praise for his jockey, who is in his third season with the Grandstand Stables.
"Royston has been doing a great job for us and he is part of the success story of last season," Al Raihe said.
"Il Grande Maurizio has hit a purple patch and is the second horse after Mujazef to complete a hat-trick for the stables. He will now run in the President's Cup [for thoroughbreds] in two weeks."
Mestor's win in the Abu Dhabi Championship Prep, a conditions race, was his second victory in the last two weeks and he will now go for the Abu Dhabi Championship for three year olds.
Ffrench made all the running on the Mahabb colt to win by eight lengths from Shamal Al Asayl.
"He is a super horse and keeps on improving," Ffrench said.
"He is very versatile and if I want to go quick he responds. In this instance there was no pace in the race and I was happy to allow him to make the running."
Tadhg O'Shea took his tally of winners for the season to 15 when he claimed a double for two different trainers.
He won the third race on Najem Al Khalij for Jaber Bittar and Versac PY for Erwan Charpy.
"He is tough and honest and that makes things very easy for any rider," O'Shea said of Versac PY.
"He won very well in Sharjah and we took a chance to run him again in Abu Dhabi. And he ran a very good race again.
"Obviously the plan would be for him to go for the Abu Dhabi Championship next in another couple of weeks."
Tony Manuel, the trainer, added another winner to his treble in Sharjah on Saturday by claiming the opener on Yazan. Richard Mullen made every yard of the running on the Jaib De Carrere colt for his first career win from three starts.