Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 April 2020

Somoud set for Dubai Kahayla Classic after thrilling Group 1 win in Abu Dhabi

Jockey Pat Cosgrave completed a big race double when taking the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship for thoroughbreds

Patrick Cosgrave and Somoud race to victory in the Group 1 Emirates Championship at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. Pawan Singh / The National
Patrick Cosgrave and Somoud race to victory in the Group 1 Emirates Championship at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. Pawan Singh / The National

Ahmed Al Mehairbi’s dream of running Somoud in the Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night came true on Saturday after the horse’s triumph in the Dh1million Group 1 Emirates Championship for Purebred Arabians in Abu Dhabi.

Pat Cosgrave rose Somoud from the outside to pip Richard Mullen on Rmmas in a thrilling battle over the 2,200-metre race.

“He’s never stopped improving and will run in the Kahayla in two weeks,” Al Mehairbi said after the six-year-old son of Munjiz edged out Jean de Roualle’s President of the UAE Cup winner by a neck.

“He has progressed through the ranks in no time. He gave me the first Group 3 success when winning the Al Ain Mile two weeks ago and now he’s given me a Group 1 prize.

“The Kahayla will be his third race in less than a month but he’s in such good form and I have no worries on that. I’m sure he’s now going into the Dubai World Cup night on top of his game.

“He’s won five times and finished either second or third in the remaining five races for me. I always believed he is a Group 1 horse and he’s proved that now in no small way.”

Cosgrave completed a big race double when taking the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship for the thoroughbreds atop GM Hopkins for Bahraini trainer Jaber Ramadhan 30 minutes later.

“I’m absolutely delighted to win the two big prizes at the meeting,” Cosgrave said. “Somoud has run consistently well in all his starts and the trainer was very confident he would run another big race.

“He was nicely positioned in the race and although we had to come from the outside, he showed a lot of speed to win quite well at the end. It was a very nice race to win with all the top horses vying for the Dh1million prize.”

Ihtisham completed a four-timer and to become the first Omani-trained horse to win the UAE Arabian Derby.

Szczepan Mazur produced a well-timed run on the AF Albahar filly to cross the finishing line ahead of Zalman and Dhafra by four lengths and a head over the 2,200m trip

“She’s a lovely filly bred by the stable owner Ali Shahwan [Al Dhaheri],” Mazur said. “She’s not put a foot wrong up to now. She is rated 103 already and this rating will improve after this win. Of course, we expect her to go big next season, provided she remains in good health.”

Ihtesham’s trainer, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, got quite sentimental when speaking of his filly.

“I was in France when she was given birth,” he said. “The vets told me she won’t survive. Two weeks later, they told me she will live but won’t be able to race. I told them god has given her to us, so let me have her.

“She’s now won all four race she’s run, including two Listed prizes. She has room to improve a lot and return as a stronger filly next season. Obviously, she will be aimed for some big prizes.”

Mazur and Al Hadhrami completed a double at the meeting after taking the opener with Ferdous.

Basmah gave her handler, Eric Lemartinel, the Arabian Triple Crown Round-3 when making all under Fanrice Veron. It was her second success in the three-race series, having won the middle leg of the race and finished third in Round-1 behind Ihtesham.

On Friday, Mullen became only the third jockey to cross the 500-winner mark when steering home De Roualle’s Musheer Al Wathba in the Al Ain Derby.

Tadhg O’Shea, the seven-time UAE champion jockey, is out in his own on 552 wins, with the now retired Richard Hills on 504.

“I am overwhelmed and to bring up the 500 in the Yas Racing colours in a big race is the perfect scenario,” Mullen said of his milestone. “We knew he had a good chance and credit to Jean and his team who have done such a great job with this horse.”

Updated: March 14, 2020 08:19 PM

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