ABU DHABI // Periander was only entered to race in the capital's final meeting of the season because an invitation to run in the Kahayla Classic on Saturday's Dubai World Cup day was delayed.
But it turned out to be a shrewd decision by Margaretha de Ruiter-Floor as the seven-year-old grey claimed his Group 1 win in the Emirates Championship for purebred Arabians for the owner-breeder at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
"It all turned out to be for the good," De Ruiter-Floor said last night after Adrie de Vries guided Periander from last to first to win the Dh200,000 fourth race in the six-card night in a photo finish from Raked, ridden by Gerald Avranche.
"We received the invite for the Kahayla Classic [the traditional World Cup opener] this morning, and by that time we had already made our plans to run him in Abu Dhabi. We stuck to that plan and it turned out to be a good one for us. We also have the option now to run him in the Dubai World Cup meeting.
"But that will depend on how well the horse has come out of this race. We will discuss this with the trainer [Gillian Duffield] and decide if he would take his place on the Dubai World Cup night.
"The long-term plans are to take him to Europe for a few races and then back to Dubai for the next season."
The victory in Abu Dhabi took Periander's career record to two wins, six seconds and four third-placed finishes in 17 starts. Periander was beaten by neck by Santhal in his UAE debut in the Maktoum Challenge Round Two on February 11 at Meydan Racecourse and finished a long way behind Neishan in Round Three a fortnight ago.
"He has been a bit unlucky not to have won more than one race before his arrival in Dubai," said De Ruiter-Floor.
"He ran a good first race and was hampered by another horse in his next start and finished a long way behind in the next.
"But he showed his true class tonight in Abu Dhabi."
De Vries was patient on Periander over the 2,200-metre trip before producing a late run to go clear and win by a short head.
Nesnaas, under Tadhg O'Shea, finished third.
In the next race, Top Class was the surprise winner of the Emirates Championship for thoroughbreds.
Patrick Cosgrave drove the five-year-old son of Kutub with a late run to win by a length from Dr Faustus and Hunting Tower to claim the Group 3 prize in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.
O'Shea won the opening race on Ragdan to close the UAE jockeys championship lead to one behind Wayne Smith.
But Smith, with 26 wins, may be heading for a maiden jockey's title with only the Dubai World Cup meeting left.
Richard Mullen completed a fine double, taking the second race aboard Najem Al Khalij, trained by Saifaldin Deeb, and the third event aboard Sarabella, trained by Anthony Manuel.
In the finale, Royston Ffrench turned the final race into a procession aboard Timadit Al Mels, trained by Ridha ben Attia.
In the chase to be the UAE's top trainer, Ali Rashid al Raihe and Musabah al Muhairi, the brothers-in-law tied at 30 winners each, both drew blanks.