ABU DHABI // Sahib Du Clos under Wayne Smith made every yard of the running to win the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, the feature race in the opening meeting at the capital’s racecourse last night.
“I couldn’t believe when I looked around and saw no others close behind a furlong from home. This horse is back to his best,” the winning jockey said.
The seven-year-old bay son of Kerbella, who is trained by Saifaldin Deeb, is a winner of three Group 1 races and a Listed prize but was winless in eight races since February 2012 before last night’s victory.
Tadgh O’Shea, the UAE champion jockey, picked up a quick double. He rode debutant Molahen El Alhan for the UAE champion trainer Ernst Oertel and Maath Gool in the thoroughbred Handicap for Doug Watson.
Molahen El Alhan turned the opening race into a procession. O’Shea had to hold on to win the next race in a photo finish from Funon ridden by Dane O’Neill.
“Molahen is an ideal horse for the Triple Crown and it was important to teach him a bit here tonight. He has to step up in the rating and I think he’s well up to it,” O’Shea said of the three-year-old chestnut son of Al Nasr.
Eric Lemartinel started his campaign with two winners. He won the Al Wathba Stud Farm Cup with Mooser ridden by Gerald Avranche and Manan won the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice race under Collen Thabana.