x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Raihe triumphs in the rain

Red-hot Ali Rashid al Raihe dominated a wet and windy Jebel Ali races for the second consecutive week, claiming a double including a one-two in the Dh100,000 feature race.

Red-hot Ali Rashid al Raihe dominated a wet and windy Jebel Ali races for the second consecutive week, claiming a double including a one-two in the Dh100,000 feature race. Al Raihe, who put out three Grand Stand Stable winners last time, has now drawn two victories clear of champion trainer, Doug Watson, in the UAE trainers' championship. It was the least fancied of his two Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid-owned runners in the seven furlong Shadwell Stables Handicap that proved the most dominant this evening. Estihdaaf, a winner over course and distance last run was the choice of Sheikh Hamdan's jockey, Tadhg O'Shea, and joint-second highest-rated horse in the race. He came home a length-and-a-half behind Aamaaq, under al Raihe's regular rider, Royston Ffrench.

"I had preferred Estihdaaf," said al Raihe, whose pair led home a one-two-three for Sheikh Hamdan after Aqmaar from Erwan Charpy's yard came third. "But Estihdaaf did not seem to handle the bend as well as Aamaaq. Estihdaaf is probably the better horse in the long term, but Aamaaq was best on the day." Dhruba Selvaratnam's Mannjal, who was given his last win by in the stewards room when another al Raihe charge, Montpellier obstructed him, was found wanting, trailing home 24 lengths from the winner. His jockey, William Buick, will not have too much time to consider that result as he returns immediately to Hong Kong where he competed in the Wednesday's International Jockeys Championship, for Sunday's international races.

Al Raihe cheered home another Sheikh Hamdan winner an hour later when Mutanasab bettered his previous two runner-up positions in the eight furlong Bin Belaila Contracting under O'Shea. Satish Seemar, made his third trip of the season to the winner's enclosure when Ibn al Nafis took the Beam Group of Companies Handicap over seven furlongs in only his second outing. "He was very green when he won his maiden here at the opening meeting," said Seemar of the Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed-owned three-year-old. "He is still very inexperienced and you could see that because he broke late and covered a lot of ground to get right back into contention.

"What was really encouraging was the way he found his way through a tight gap between horses which is something that young horses are sometimes unwilling to do. "Winning that race was as good as three races in terms of experience for him and experience is very important on this track." Gillian Duffield struck in the purebred Arabian Emirates Horse Breeders Society contest with her filly, AF Alghabra owned by Klahid Khalifa al Nabooda. The good-looking grey, on her first run since March, was kept handy by jockey O'Shea who made his move with perfect timing to take victory from Ahmed al Shamsi's AS Muheeb, runner-up under Wayne Smith and last week's Arabian winner, DAS Jalabi from Bakhit al Ketbi. "She's a nice filly and we thought a lot of her last year but she was still a little bit weak then," said Duffield. "She is stronger now but we are expecting her to be better on grass because she has a lovely stride and a very nice turn of foot."

Tony Manuel claimed a double when the 85-rated Noisy Silence, winner in the same race last week was the best in the nine furlong Commercial Bank of Dubai handicap for jockey Richard Thomas. "He went up 5lbs but he came out the race well last week and I will be interested to see if he can get into the Carnival," said Manuel. stregoning@thenational.ae