ABU DHABI // Seraphin Du Paon was the impressive winner last night of Abu Dhabi's richest race, the Dh1million President's Cup.
The 2010 UAE Arabian Derby winner registered his biggest victory to date at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, winning the Group 1 race at a canter under Olivier Peslier, the French jockey who was flown in especially for the ride in the silks of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE.
"We will see how he has come out of this race and if we plan to run him again this season, it will be in the Kahayla Classic [at Meydan Racecourse on Dubai World Cup night]," Philippe Barbe, the trainer, said. "He improved a lot from his last race and Olivier gave him a perfect ride.
"He is a young horse with a lot of potential. We need to handle him carefully.
"He has not run on the Tapeta at Meydan but I would like to think he is versatile and can handle any surface."
Peslier had Seraphin Du Paon placed in the middle of the pack for most of the 2,200m trip before the horse cruised to the front to win by more than three lengths from Rabah De Carrere, who was the first to break away from the pack under Kieren Fallon as the field swept past the final bend.
Fallon, the six-time British champion jockey, had given a positive statement about Seraphin Du Paon, after riding him in the Prep race four weeks ago.
"He is the horse to beat in this field. We were locked up behind and he would have won in the next couple of strides," Fallon said after they were beaten by a short head by Vite Royale, who was fourth last night.
The biggest disappointment on the night was Shadiyda, who finished third last in the field that included three previous winners of the race - Jarnin, Nirwan and Dynamite.
Dariya, ridden by Ted Durcan, made a winning debut in the Emirates by claiming the Group 3 Al Ruwais sprint over 1,000 metres. The seven-year-old, trained by Saifaldin Deeb, won by a short head from Zells Fred who tried to make all the running under Fallon.
Tadhg O'Shea completed a fine double on the night. He rode AF Alghabra to her seventh consecutive win to claim the Fillies Classic and rounded off the six-race card by steering AF Maqam Alezz to victory in the final race, a handicap rated 0-60 over the minimum 1,000m trip.