x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Almiqdaad toughs it out to take win

Tadhg O'Shea completed a superb hat-trick at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club while guiding Almiqdaad to victory in the most exciting finish of the six-race meeting.

Almiqdaad, ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, right, edges out Radegund Abbey in the featured handicap race in Abu Dhabi last night.
Almiqdaad, ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, right, edges out Radegund Abbey in the featured handicap race in Abu Dhabi last night.

ABU DHABI // Tadhg O'Shea completed a superb hat-trick at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club last night while guiding Almiqdaad to victory in the most exciting finish of the six-race meeting.

Almiqdaad and Radegund Abbey, under Patrick Cosgrave, battled stride for stride to the line in the featured handicap rated 70-95 for the thoroughbreds, with O'Shea getting the decision in a photo finish.

The Irishman rode his three winners for three different trainers, but all in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, for whom he is the retained jockey.

Almiqdaad was returning to the track for the first time in more than 14 months to win on his UAE debut. The five-year-old gelded son of Haafhd, trained by Erwan Charpy, did not show any rustiness as he ran on gamely from the 200-metre pole with the Satish Seemar-trained Radegund Abbey.

"He showed how tough he was for a horse that had been out of the racetrack for so long," O'Shea said. "He picked up well as we turned for home and then stayed really, really well. I wasn't sure if we had won, but he deserved it."

O'Shea had earlier steered Ali Rashid Al Raihe's Masharref to win the third race, a handicap rated 0-65, and was in the winner's enclosure again half-an-hour later with Takaamul in the 0-85 handicap for Gillian Duffield.

O'Shea was denied a fourth victory by Wayne Smith on Ernst Oertel's Marjan Al Asayl, who beat Versac PY, another Charpy-trained runner, in the second race, a 0-45 handicap.

Al Raihe, the UAE champion trainer, also claimed the opening race with Mestor, who made all the running under Royston Ffrench in the Conditions race over a 1,600m.

Mestor, the horse with the best form and, at 100, the highest rated in the field of 16, turned the race into a procession, winning by more than seven lengths.

The three-year-old son of Mahabb had won in his first start in France and was then third in a Conditions race. He was later sent to England where he was the runner up in a Group 2 race at Newbury and a Group 3 contest in Bath.

"He was the horse with the best form and he delivered," Ffrench said. "He had come with decent form, having being runner up in a couple of graded races. So he was the best horse and did his job very nicely."

apassela@thenational.ae