ABU DHABI // Naseem stormed to a comfortable victory in the UAE Arabian Derby last night and is now being lined up for a run in next year's Dubai Kahayla Classic.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's four year old lived up to his top billing by winning the feature prize at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
Ridden by Wayne Smith, Naseem scored a three-and-a-half length victory over stable companion Areem.
"He is a top class juvenile and if all goes well, he is a horse for next season's Kahayla Classic," said Majed Al Jahouri, the trainer.
"He is not the easiest horse to train but has done nothing wrong in his two races since arriving from France. He has won both his starts very convincingly. I spoke to his jockey Wayne and he was all praise for the horse."
Naseem is the second UAE Arabian Derby winner for Sheikh Mansour, who also won the race with Shadiyda in 2007.
Smith had Naseem placed behind Areem, who bowled along in front under Harry Bentley, with Daffagh Al Asayl, ridden by Mirco Demuro, the Dubai World Cup winning jockey, in third as they approached the final bend of the 2,200-metre race.
Smith then asked his mount to pick up the pace and Naseem went clear. Areem stayed on to take second from Daffagh Al Asayl, the bay colt denying Al Jahouri a 1-2-3 finish as Rakha, his third runner, finished fourth.
"I knew my horse had class and a good acceleration," said Smith, the UAE champion jockey. "I was happy to sit behind the pace and when it came to the business end I just had to give him a tap and he took off really well.
"He is a class animal and won easily as he did in his first race. As I said earlier, he is the best Arabian I have sat on after winning the Kahayla Classic on Nez D'Or."
Manisha was an impressive winner of the Emirates Fillies Classic, for four-year-old Arabians bred in the UAE, the main supporting contest on the seven-race card.
The grey daughter of Darike under Demuro made smooth progress from the back of the field to catch Shajarat Eddor Al Reef and stop Al Jahouri winning both feature prizes.
Bentley got off to a bright start, winning the first two races on Bib Basha and Raeaa W'Rsan for two different trainers, before his second place in the Derby.
"It was Areem's first start and he ran a good race behind another class horse," said Bentley, of his Derby runner up. "To win two races and finish second in the feature race is a satisfying for a day's work."
Tadhg O'Shea and David Smith picked up a winner each and Saeed Al Mazrooei, the Emirati apprentice, rounded off the evening by claiming the solitary prize for the thoroughbreds on Jamhoori, for the UAE champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.