ABU DHABI // The name of Mubarak Bin Shafya was a new one to horse racing fans this season but the rookie trainer, who cut his teeth in the endurance world, is fast becoming a household name locally and a Nad Al Sheba treble on Thursday propelled him onto the international stage. Highlighted by the way Gladiatorus romped to victory in the featured Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort, on turf, his treble also included a similar victory by Dijeerr in a dirt conditions race.
Both those races were over a mile yet the middle leg of his hat-trick was supplied by the regally-bred Eastern Anthem in a 12-furlong turf handicap. It would not be impossible to see all three on World Cup night. Royston Ffrench partnered both Eastern Anthem and Gladiatorus, with apprentice Antioco Murgia on Dijeerr. Elsewhere on a marathon nine-race card, Englishman Rod Simpson continued his remarkable season when saddling Fryvolous to win the Group 2 Bani Yas, the only Purebred Arabian race on the card. Ridden by Daragh O'Donohoe, the six-year-old powered clear a furlong out and is another likely to grace the card on the big night in five weeks time.
UK-based trainers also enjoyed a memorable night with victories for Swop (Luca Cumani/Ryan Moore), Young Mick (George Margarson/John Egan) and Judd Street. The latter, trained by Eve Johnson Houghton was, remarkably, the only ride on the card for Mick Kinane, one of the world's greatest jockeys. Champion UAE trainer Doug Watson saddled Clasp under Fernando Jara to a well received victory in the 10-furlong dirt handicap.
Owned by EERC, the UAE's only racing club, he was greeted to rapturous applause by around 50 ecstatic owners. For once, neither Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor nor South African Champion Mike De Kock managed a winner. email@example.com