Emirati Al Masoori holds off veteran jockey James Doyle to earn his debut win at the Jebel Ali Racecourse aboard Aqmaar.
Apprentice jockey Abdullah Al Masoori off to a flyer in debut win
DUBAI // Abdullah Al Masoori, the Emirati apprentice, rode to a debut win at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday and celebrated with a flying dismount made famous by his racing idol.
Al Masoori, an apprentice at Erwan Charpy's Green Stables, impressed in a tight finish on Jebel Ali's notoriously energy-sapping uphill home straight, taking Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Aqmaar to victory by a neck.
Al Masoori, 21, part of the Emirates Racing Authority's UAE Apprentice Scheme, got the better of Dhruba Selvaratnam's home team of the accomplished jockey James Doyle and Ancien Regime in the 1,400-metre handicap.
"Frankie Dettori is my idol so that's why I did the flying dismount," Al Masoori said.
"I am so happy, and I want to thank Sheikh Hamdan and Erwan Charpy for this chance."
Al Masoori, who has been riding only since November 2010, has had the benefit of a season at the Racing Academy & Center of Education, the jockey school in Ireland. He also was given a 4.5-kilogram weight advantage over the other jockeys.
Charpy was delighted the apprentice acquitted himself so well.
"Abdullah has been working very hard, and I must say that he rode a very nice race," the Frenchman said. "OK, he was a little untidy in the finish, but he shows a lot of promise. Before today I would have added that he is very level-headed, but after that flying dismount I can't say that."
He joked that he would clamp down on the celebration.
"I told him I would let that one go, as it was his first win, but I will have to take him to hand if he does it again," Charpy said. "He has a long way to go until he will become Frankie Dettori."
The jockeys Royston Ffrench, Richard Mullen and Tadhg O'Shea have helped Al Masoori in his pre-race preparation, and Ffrench was one of the first to congratulate the young rider.
"The other jockeys have really been helpful in his training," Charpy said. "About halfway through the race I saw that Aqmaar was travelling very well and I realised he could win. He's an old boy and he runs well for you if you just leave him alone, and Abdullah did very well to sit quietly and let him get on with it."
Al Masoori is too inexperienced to land any big rides in the Dubai World Cup Carnival, but Charpy said he would be looking for another race for the promising Emirati at Jebel Ali. "Right now Abdullah can only ride on the straight," Charpy said. "When he gets more experience he will be able to race around a bend."