x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dariya a class apart among Purebreds

A double for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed after win over 1,600m at Meydan Racecourse.

Ahmed Ajtebi said Dariya was 'a genuine Group 1 performer' after tonight's win. Razan Alzayani / The National
Ahmed Ajtebi said Dariya was 'a genuine Group 1 performer' after tonight's win. Razan Alzayani / The National

DUBAI // Dariya led home a 1-2 for owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed and trainer Majoud Al Jahiouri when recording a comfortable victory from Thakif in the featured Mazrat Al Rawayah prep at Meydan Racecourse tonight.

The 1,600m contest was the only Purebred Arabian contest on the card and produced a great result for owner and trainer with local jockey Ahmed Ajtebi in the saddle. He said: "My horse is a genuine Group 1 performer taking a big drop in class and he won well in a decent contest. I was always going nicely and he quickened well.

"We run Areem on Sunday in the National Day Cup and he should go close also as he has been working very well."

The best of the thoroughbred races was a 1,600m conditions race and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid provided the first three home with retained jockey Dane O'Neill (riding his first winner at Meydan) leading the way from Barbecue Eddie, trained by Doug Watson.

"I was a bit worried turning for home as he had a lot of ground to make up but he finished strongly and made it just in time," Watson said. "Maktoum Challenge I, Super Saturday and the Godolphin Mile are the obvious Carnival races for him and he has been a great servant to the yard."

He was chased home by the same owner's Tamaathul and Haatheq, both trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe, who then saddled a 1-2 in the concluding 2,000m handicap with Pat Cosgrave steering Zain Shamardal home.

Cosgrave said: "He has travelled very strongly throughout, then quickened nicely and battling when he had to."

It was a second 1-2 for champion trainer Al Raihe, who had earlier achieved the same feat in the 1,200m maiden when Royston Ffrench steered Desert Of Dreams to victory from Latkhaf.

In doing so, the homebred son of Exceed and Excel became the first juvenile (two year old) to win at Meydan, admittedly from very few runners. Ffrench said: "We were very pleased with his first local run at Jebel Ali and very hopeful of at least going close. There should be options for him now at the Carnival."

Ghanas was very impressive winning his second 1,200m handicap of the season under Tadhg O'Shea who said: "We had the worst draw in 14 but he is so quick I was able to get across and to the front."

Furnace was a first winner of the season for trainer Erwan Charpy when winning a 1,400m handicap under Sam Hitchcott.

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