DUBAI // There has been a permanent smile on the face of trainer, Ali Rashid al Raihe at Jebel Ali racecourse in recent weeks and a treble did nothing to spoil his mood. Al Raihe's three-week winning streak at this course has boosted his win total by eight. With 13, he now draws two ahead of champion trainer, Doug Watson, who claimed one back with his sprinter, Hammadi, under Ted Durcan in the last.
But the day belonged to al Raihe. Fathayer won the Dh120,000 Derrinstown Stud, a prep race for the Jebel Ali Stakes, held this season in January as opposed to its traditional Christmas billing. Winning jockey, Royston Ffrench, claimed four races having piloted the Saifaldin Deeb-trained Ameer al Sraya to victory in the opening Arabian maiden. Fathayer travelled well under Ffrench, drawing ahead of runner-up, Meeriss under Daragh O'Donohoe by three-and-three-quarter-lengths. Arqaam, the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid-owned runner from Watson's yard, was third for jockey, Wayne Smith. Ffrench, who brings his own winning tally to 16 at the top of the jockeys' championship, was not surprised by Fathayer's performance.
"He lived up to his form," he said of Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed-owned runner sired by Breeders Cup-winner Volponi. "He came on from his last race and our runners are thriving." Al Raihe said Fathayer will be considered for a conditions race over seven furlongs to a mile before the Carnival and then aimed at Meydan's early races. In addition to the feature the al Raihe/Ffrench pairing also took the Dh100,000 Al Shafar Investment over seven furlongs with tried and tested course specialist, Jet Express, and the eight furlong Al Redha Insurance Handicap with Palm Court.