ABU DHABI // It took a record breaking effort from Rakha to defeat Areem, her more illustrious stable companion, for the first time in four starts this season.
Royston Ffrench pushed the filly all the way to catch Ahmed Ajtebi on Areem in the last few strides to lead a 1-2-3-4 finish for the Emirati trainer Majed Al Jahouri in the Group 1 Liwa Oasis in last night's penultimate meeting of the season at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
A short head separated the first two while Harry Bentley on Thakif was a further head behind in third.
Musharab under Dane O'Neill was two-and-a-half length in fourth over the 1,400m trip.
Rakha, a course and distance winner when ridden by Ajtebi in her last start, clocked one minute, 27.64 seconds to eclipse the track record of 1:29.35 set by Dahess, a multiple Group 1 winner from Qatar, in 2004.
Areem's defeat did not diminish his chances of running in the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the Arabian showpiece on the Dubai World Cup card on March 30, according to Al Jahouri.
"The Tapeta at Meydan suits his front running style and he would be better from this run," he said.
"The plan was for Areem to set the pace and the others try to catch him if they can. It really didn't matter who won as long as it was one from the stable. We got lucky to have all four finishing ahead of the others."
Al Jahouri will have maximum entries in the Kahayla Classic including all four that ran last night.
"If I have a dozen horses that can make it to this race, so be it," he said.
"All of them that ran tonight can possibly run, and there are others as well. And every one of them will run on merit and hold their own chances in the race."
Ajtebi was on Rakha when she won last time out while Ffrench was in the saddle when she was placed twice in the two previous starts.
"She is a tough filly and ran a great race tonight," Ffrench said. "I rode her twice. She finished fifth and then second before Ahmed rode her to victory. So she has been very consistent."
Ernst Oertel's Skoop made it three-out-of-three by running out a convincing winner of the Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown.
Tadhg O'Shea settled the Njewman colt at the back of the eight-runner field over 2,400m but he then made steady progress and had the race won when the field swept on to the final bend.
"He stays and has a lot of speed, so he's exactly what you want on an Arabian. He's a full package," the UAE champion jockey said.
"He's a very exciting prospect and hopefully, touch wood, he stays in one piece and we can see him for many years to come."
O'Shea completed a double when he made all the running on the Satish Seemar trained filly Queen Of Alba in the concluding race for the thoroughbreds.
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