x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Jockey Richard Mullen aims Surfer at Carnival

Jockey says the horse's win in the Ford Explorer event at Meydan Racecourse means a Group 2 opening round race may be in order for the horse.

Dane O'Neill enjoys the ride aboard Quite A Show in winning the featured event at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night, the Mazrat Al Ruwayah..
Dane O'Neill enjoys the ride aboard Quite A Show in winning the featured event at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night, the Mazrat Al Ruwayah..

DUBAI // Surfer will be aimed at the Group 2 opening round of the Maktoum Challenge on the first night of the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival after his impressive victory in the 1,400m conditions race at Meydan Racecourse tonight.

Trained by Satish Seemar, he was ridden by Richard Mullen just as he had been when winning a 1,600m maiden on his previous outing and the three-year-old half-brother to the Grade 1 winner Emcee looks a nice prospect for the Carnival, which starts on January 10. Settled in mid division by Mullen, he was going well turning for home but had to wait for a gap to open. And once it did early in the straight, the pair were always going to win and powered clear for a comfortable victory.

He was highly-tried last season, including finishing second in the same race as a juvenile and being placed second in a Listed race on Super Saturday.

Mullen said: "He has improved a lot for that maiden win - mentally as well as physically. He is starting to grow up and is a horse we have always really liked.

"Maktoum Challenge I has to be the logical target but he will be better over 1,800m in time and perhaps further."

The trainer and jockey were completing a double after their Layali Al Andalus needed virtually every yard of the 2,200m to win the preceding handicap.

Quite A Show sprang something of a surprise in the featured Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah, defying a Group 1 penalty to land the 1,600m contest, the only Purebred Arabian race on the card.

Trained by Doug Watson for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, he was ridden by Dane O'Neill and was winning on Tapeta for the first time.

"He is certainly tough and has really battled to get his head in front and then stuck his neck out to stay there," O'Neill said.

Watson added: "That was a nice surprise because he is only tiny and had to give weight away to some real good horses but he is a genuine Group 1 performed.

"I was not worried about the surface as he was third here last year. He will go for Maktoum Challenge I now."

Another Carnival-bound horse is Ganas who registered his third successive 1,200m handicap victory with the champion jockey Tadhg O'Shea carrying the silks of Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa all the way victory.

The horse is trained by Ernst Oertel who said: "He has just improved from race to race and seems to be thriving. He loves the Tapeta and we will have to aim him at the Carnival now."

Paul Hanagan continued his great start to the season when weaving through the field on Maali to win the opening 1,950m maiden for the champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe and the pair followed up when Tamaathul landed the concluding 1,400m conditions race. The latter is also owned by Sheikh Hamdan, Hanagan's main employer and the jockey said: "It is great to not only open my account here at Meydan but to ride a winner for the boss at this amazing racecourse.

"I could not be happier with the way things have gone since I arrived last week and it would be great to think it can continue on to the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

"Maali was a nice spare ride and won well enough."

sports@thenational.ae

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