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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Al Shamoos sets sights on Kahayla Classic after Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Jewel Crown win

Prevails in Friday's meeting in Abu Dhabi for French trainer Charles Gourdain

Jockey Julien Auge celebrates the big win for Al Shamoos in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National
Jockey Julien Auge celebrates the big win for Al Shamoos in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

Al Shamoos provided French trainer Charles Gourdain with his first and biggest career prize winner in Abu Dhabi.

The four-year-old filly ridden by French jockey Julien Auge produced a strong run on the home stretch to win the Dh5 million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Jewel Crown in the silks of Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed on Friday evening.

Auge had Al Shamoos behind the leading group before producing his challenge from the 400 metres out marker to win by a length from Fazza Al Khalediah, winner of the Group 1 World Cup on the Prix de l'arc de Triomphe day in his last start.

Al Shamoos will return to France but Gourdain has not ruled out returning for a crack at the Kahayla Classic, the Arabian showpiece on the Dubai World Cup meeting on March 30 at Meydan.

“If everything goes well and as planned, we’ll return to defend the title in Abu Dhabi,” said the Frenchman.

“She has got a great future. We will be doing her program in Europe and in this area as well. We will think about bringing her for the Kahayla Classic.

“The only worry is she hasn’t raced on the dirt. She has run on the all-weather and won in Sweden. Yes, we’ll consider when the time comes.”

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Gourdain said he was quietly confident of Al Shamoos’ chances coming to Abu Dhabi after she scored a victory in a Group 1 race at Longchamp in her last start.

“She was very impressive in her victory in the last start but you never know when you are against older horses,” added Gourdain.

“She travelled very well behind the leader and finished like she did in Longchamp.”

Earlier, the German riders Rebecca Danz and Esther Weissmeier were both victorious in supporting races on the six-race card.

Danz, 29, aboard Asyyad. triumphed for trainer Eric Lemartinel in the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Championship.

Weissmeier, 21, was victorious on Jean de Roualle’s Harrab in the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice Jockey Championship half-an-hour earlier.

“It was an amazing race to win,” said Danz who took up the running on the home stretch to win from Bainoona by three and-a-half lengths.

“I have been riding in Germany for 10 years and this is my fifth year riding in the Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Festival for Purebred Arabians.

“I have no words to describe winning this prize. The feeling of winning a big race is incredible."

For Weissmeier, winning a race outside her native Germany, was her biggest achievement.

“The trainer instructed me to be behind the lead horses, which I did, and when we turned the final corner I got space to go from the inside. He was flying from there,” she said.

Like Danz, Weismeier also rides professionally in Germany, but the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Festival for Purebred Arabians permits jockeys who are under 25 to take part.

“I was runner up two years ago in the same race and it was nice feeling to win this time. This is also my first winner in the Sheikh Mansour Festival after a couple of seconds.”