Ajwad clinches thriller from Musabah Al Muhairi-trained pair Billingsgate and Azmaam by head and nose to land only prize for thoroughbreds in six-race card
Ajwad wins in Abu Dhabi after being 'allowed to have his own way' by jockey Gerald Avranche
Ajwad provided his trainer Rashed Bouresly and jockey Gerald Avranche their first win of the season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Ajwad clinched a thriller from the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained pair Billingsgate and Azmaam by head and nose to land the only prize for the thoroughbreds in the six-race card.
Riding in only his fifth race for the season, Avranche said he was instructed to allow Ajwad to run his own race.
“That’s what I did - to allow him to have his own way when he wanted to race up in front,” Avranche said. “He travelled well and showed a lot of speed from start to finish.
"There was some strong headwind and rain when we went to the starting point, but it subsided before the race started.”
Ajwad won his second race in 23 career starts and for the first time on turf.
“I was riding him for the first time and this was a fairly strong field,” Avranche pointed out. “He’s not the biggest horse, but he did his job very well tonight.”
Trainers Ernst Oertel and Eric Lemartinel shared four of the five prizes up for grabs for the Purebred Arabians. Oertel claimed the second and fifth races with AF Tahoona and AF Kafu, both ridden by Richard Mullen and in the silks of leading owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda.
AF Tahoona’s victory in the Conditions race for local-bred Arabians in only her second career start has prompted her trainer to take her straight for the Fillies Classic on December 16.
The three-year-old daughter of AF Alsalaam improved from her fifth place on debut behind the Lemartinel-trained colt Ellal, who was a late withdrawal from the race.
“She missed the break in her first start and ran a little bit green that day,” Oertel said.
“With that experience under her belt, she ran a better race, as we expected. We’ll now take her for the Classic.”
AF Kafu made all over the 2,200-metre trip to trounce the field by six-and-three-quarter lengths to complete the double for Oertel and Mullen.
RB Lam Tara under Fabrice Veron provided Lemartinel his first winner in the third race. Bainoona, ridden by stable jockey Pat Cosgrave, completed the double by taking the concluding handicap.
The two winners took Lemartinel’s tally to 11. He leads the trainer’s championship race.
Duc De Faust with Szczepan Mazur atop broke his maiden tag in 10 starts and put one across the board for Omani trainer Younis Al Kalbani by taking the fourth race.