x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Happy hunting for the Smith brothers again

Wayne claims two winners while David bags fourth of season at The Spring Meetings at Meydan.

DUBAI // The Spring Meetings at Meydan have been fruitful for the Smith brothers. Last time, Wayne Smith and his brother, David, each rode a double.

Proceedings at the third and final Spring Meeting of the season followed a similar script as Wayne took the first and sixth race and David won the second.

With only four meetings remaining before the close of the season, Wayne, the premier rider for Musabah al Muhairi, tops the jockey's championship with 26 wins for the season, four ahead of second-placed Tadhg O'Shea.

Wayne's first victory came on board the Brazilian runner Energia Central, who picked up his first win in a post-to-post victory after recovering from an unlucky couple of runs.

The three-year-old colt, who sustained a cut leg in one outing and was impeded in another, was back on the Tapeta after a poor showing on Abu Dhabi's turf last month.

"He just lost a lot of confidence," said his trainer, Eduardo Martins, who prepares a string for last year's Dubai World Cup-winning owner, Stefan Friborg, and his wife, Dalva de Oliveira.

"He had a tough time in his last two races and we just needed to nurse him back," Martins said.

Energia Central will now join Friborg's other Dubai-based horses in Sweden this summer and Martins expects that the three-year-old will come back to the desert next season. "He's done his job," said Martins. "He will have a holiday in Sweden and we'll look for some handicaps for him next season."

The jockey had been feeling confident before the race. "He had some good form when he was fourth behind Zafeen Speed a few races ago," Smith said.

"I was confident that he would win. It wasn't a great race. Eduardo said to ride him positive and I was quite happy to go to the front and it worked very well."

Smith was back in the winner's enclosure for the evening's feature, when Royal God got the better of Mike de Kock's runner-up, Solid Choice, under Kevin Shea.

David Smith, who also rides at al Muhairi's yard, claimed his fourth win of the season. He partnered al Muhairi's Wadi Wanderer to victory in the tightest of finishes in the 1,400m second race. Wadi Wanderer denied Mark to Market by a nose in a photo finish.

Jesus Rosales, the Argentine rider, registered his sixth win when he piloted Count Paris to victory in the 1,400m third race.

The much-improved inmate of Abdullah bin Huzaim's yard took well to the Tapeta after some poor efforts racing on dirt.

"He likes the track here," said Rosales. "He galloped on Tapeta and went well and he has improved a lot at home. I am happy with my season. Not so long ago I was only on two winners and I was a bit worried, but then I started winning."

O'Shea was awarded the fifth, a 1,200m handicap, in the stewards' room after it was deemed that the first horse, Ahmed Ajtebi's mount, Innocuous, had impeded the progress of O'Shea's Qamar.