x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Late charge from Hitchens gives Silvestre De Sousa a double at Meydan

Victory in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint wins USD $200,000 (Dh73,464) for Irish trainer, David Barron.

Silvestre de Sousa, in white, takes Hitchens home in the Al Shindagha sprint yesterday.
Silvestre de Sousa, in white, takes Hitchens home in the Al Shindagha sprint yesterday.

DUBAI // Hitchens snatched a late victory in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint yesterday, claiming the US$200,000 (Dh734,600) contest for the Irish trainer David Barron.

A strong ride from the winning jockey, the Brazilian Silvestre de Sousa, in the home straight saw Hitchens do just enough to poke his nose in front of the battling duo, Krypton Factor and Captain Obvious, on the line.

"It was very close," said De Sousa, who made his move from an outside position.

"This is quite a tricky horse to ride because once he gets his nose in front he tends to give up, so I had to make a late challenge."

De Sousa was riding his second winner of the night, after also steering Factory Time to victory 1,400-metre Meydan Classic Trial conditions race earlier in the afternoon for the trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

"It was a little bit of a surprises," said De Sousa, who was glad to pick up the spare ride for the champion trainer. "On the canter down he gave me a great feeling, though. There was no pace in the race but I just had to ignore that and concentrate on riding my race."

Ip Man, the runaway international favourite, who had stormed to victory at Meydan Racecourse on his first start of the season, faded to a baffling 13th place in the same race.

A veterinary inspection found nothing amiss with the Singapore runner that might explain his lacklustre performance. His rider, Oscar Chavez, reported to stewards that his mount had been reluctant to race throughout the contest.

Al Raihe also took the opening contest, a mile-long Tapeta outing with the reserve, Maraheb, under Royston Ffrench.

"He was just a little bit lazy throughout the race, but once I asked him to go he was willing enough," said Ffrench.

At the other end of the card, Frankie Dettori and Mahmood Al Zarooni, who had combined to impressive effect with Gamilati in the UAE 1000 Guineas, also claimed the concluding 2,810m stayer's race.

Fox Hunt, a very respectable seventh in November's Melbourne Cup, proved far too good for the rest, recording a three-and-a-quarter length victory.