ABU DHABI // Delphine Dubois put her victory in the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) last night right on top of her 22 career wins.
The French amateur jockey rode the Eric Lemartinel-trained AF Sanadek to a one-length victory over Ernst Oertel's pair Swyft under Veronika Aske of Norway and Al Mouttakel ridden by the Briton Emily Jones in the opening meeting of the season at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
"I am walking in the air at the moment," Dubois, 32, said. "I knew I had a good chance and riding a good horse but you never know before riding them.
"This definitely is special and goes right on top of my flat winners. I am bit crazy because I also ride over the jumps and have three winners."
She said Lemartinel was a friend she had known from France and he had given her tips before the race.
"I was told the horse was slow to start and to get him out quickly," she said.
"However, he kept up with the pace quite easily and then the horses in front started to tire. I thought I got in front a bit too early but he stayed on strongly."
Ahmed Ajtebi, Godolphin's Emirati rider made all the running on Areem to land the biggest racing prize of the night, the Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Cup.
"To keep him in front was the instruction but I thought we went too fast and had nothing left in the last two furlongs. But he picked up again in the next furlong pole and stayed on strongly in the quality of a good horse," Ajtebi said.
Al Ashram came with a strong late run under the apprentice, Marc Monaghan, but had to settle for second ahead of Quite A Show under Dane O'Neill.
"There were some very good horses that had run in Group 1 races behind him and I am sure he will improve from this run," Ajtebi said of Areem.
Seraphin Du Paon, the 2010 winner of both the Dubai Kahayla Classic and the President's Cup in Abu Dhabi, could finish only seventh.
Oertel claimed a double with Shayel Aldhabi and Richly Blessed, who won the inaugural Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak EARS (European Apprentice Racing Schools) Apprentice Race for the Omani Mu'nis Al Siyabi.
"I have been riding a lot of Arabians and this gave me an advantage over the others, of course with the help of a good horse under me," the 21 year old said.
"My instructions were to have the filly close behind the leaders in third or fourth, which I did. When I kicked for home she stretched away from the rest."
Keagan de Mello on Lemartinel's AF Qamoos came with a late run but was never going to catch the winner. Ma'Eror W'Rsan under the Swede Max Friberg finished third.
Richly Blessed was the highest rated at 75 and had been placed third in a Group 2 race in France.
"She ran nicely in a Group 2 but didn't show she was of that level and the owners decided to bring her down here," Oertel said.
"She broke the maiden from her first start in Abu Dhabi, which was quite nice. She's not a super star but she's tough."
In-between, Wayne Smith rode the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Maathgool to victory in the handicap for the thoroughbreds.
Gerald Avranche came with a sweeping late run from the wide outside on Mooser to deny Smith a double on stable companion AF Dhaham in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for the first of Lemartinel's two winners.
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