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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Jockey Dane O’Neill clinches double after winning aboard Etijaah and Muarrab at Meydan Racecourse

He steers Doug Watson-trained Etijaah across 2,000 metres before winning aboard Muarrab over 1,200m for Ali Rashid Al Raihe

Etijaah under jockey Dan O’Neill gallops to a big win at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night. Antonie Robertson / The National
Etijaah under jockey Dan O’Neill gallops to a big win at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night. Antonie Robertson / The National

Dane O’Neill bagged two of the three Listed prizes for two different trainers, but both in the silks of his employer Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday.

He steered the Doug Watson-trained Etijaah to romp home by six lengths in the fifth during the 2,000-metre trip. He also won aboard Muarrab by three lengths over 1,200m 35 minutes later for Emirati trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

UAE champion trainer Watson is hoping for “bigger things” from Etijaah after he landed his second Listed prize in his long career.

While on board the seven-year-old gelding, O’Neill made his challenge as they approached the final bend. He then led on the home stretch before going clear to win unchallenged.

“He’s a nice horse on his day,” Watson said. “The mile and quarter seems a good trip for him. We’ll see where he goes next and hopefully win another big race for us.”

Just 25 minutes after winning aboard Etijaah, Dan O'Neill guided Muarrab to victory. Antonie Robertson / The National
Just 25 minutes after winning aboard Etijaah, Dan O'Neill guided Muarrab to victory. Antonie Robertson / The National

William Buick, atop Godolphin runner Fly At Dawn, burst out of the gates. But Richard Mullen on Ferrier, drawn widest of the 13 runners, overtook the duo as they set the early pace until they approached the final bend.

Etijaah’s victory was also consolation for Watson after Cosmo Charlie finished a disappointing fourth in the seven-runner Listed race - the fourth one - over 1,600m.

Heavy Metal claimed that prize on his first start since being unplaced in the US$1 million (Dh3.67m) Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card on March 25.

Drawn widest of the seven runners, Royston Ffrench got him quickly out of the gates and bowled along in front, closely followed by Cosmo Charlie under Pat Dobbs in the 1,600m race.

Cosmo Charlie dropped out of contention as the field reached the 400m home stretch leaving Heavy Metal on his own in front to romp home by four and-a-half lengths.

Wild Dude was second, followed by Stunned and Cosmo Charlie, an impressive winner four weeks ago on his first start for the season.

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“The plan was to get him out quickly, but Cosmo Charlie wouldn’t allow my own way as easy as I wanted to. But he settled down well to win pretty well at the end,” Ffrench said of the eight-year-old gelding by Exceed And Excel.

Street Of Dreams made it count a third time by running away with the third race. He was the first of the two winners for Watson on the night.

Pat Dobbs had the Shamardal colt well placed behind stable companion More To Come before going clear in the last 50m to win from Travis County by two and-three-quarter lengths.

The Eric Lemartinel-trained Mawahib clinched the opener, the only race for Purebred Arabians, and in the process completed a hat-trick across three different racecourses - in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and now Meydan.

Tadhg O’Shea, the jockey in all three victories, upped the pace as the field reached the 400m home stretch to win from Chaddad and AF Marrah by quarter length and a head.

Patrick Cosgrave on Sea Skimmer won the concluding handicap for Emirati trainer Helal Al Alawi’s 16th winner of the season.