x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Mizzna lives up to her hype

Dream finish for trainer Lemartinel as the duel between stable champions has the mare pip Shadiyda in a tight finish.

Gerald Avranche rides Mizzna, No 11, to a close win over Ted Durcan aboard Shadiyda at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
Gerald Avranche rides Mizzna, No 11, to a close win over Ted Durcan aboard Shadiyda at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

Mizzna fought her way to a dramatic win in the National Day Cup at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club last night, winning the prestigious Group One race by a short head from stablemate Shadiyda. With Gerald Avranche in the saddle, the six-year-old chestnut mare was given a tough challenge by a strong field.

After battling to find space 250m out, Mizzna broke through the field on the tail of her stable companion, finally straining her nose in front, to put the crowd on their feet. The repeat result of the National Day Cup Prep race three weeks was a dream finish for the French trainer Eric Lemartinel, proving the mare has returned to the champion form that saw her win the same race in 2007 - before injury sidelined her for a year.

"Today she was in full season so she was very relaxed, so she wasn't given her best," said Lemartinel. "She followed Shadiyda, but it was difficult for her to find a good place. Once she found a space she went for it. "Shadiyda has improved a lot. He gave her something to fight for. Between the races I dreamed about this finish, if you cannot be happy with this result, when will you be happy? "Mizzna will go straight to the Kahayla Classic now and Shadiyda will head for the President's Cup. He needs to be really fresh."

The Gillian Duffield trained seven-year-old Nesnaas was third. Jaasoos surprised all to win the thoroughbred equivalent of the National Day Cup in stylish form for the Indian trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam. "He's got so much speed. William Buick settled him early, then when he saw daylight he quicken past it," Selvaratnam said. "We were afraid for Kalahari Gold, but he was the only one. Our horses are in good form."

Doctors of Laws ran in second, with the favoured Eddie Jock third under Richard Mullen. Taghg O'Shea rode the Jaci Wickham-trained Raeaa W'rsan to the first win of the night, in the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Conditions race for three-year-old fillies, over 1,400m. Coming from behind, the grey filly powered ahead of the pack with 250m to go, winning comfortably by a length from Lujain under Ted Durcan. Hamamat al Salam, ridden by Wayne Smith, claimed a maiden win on her second outing for Dubai-based trainer Musabah al Muhairi, in Purebred Arabians UAE Bred Unrated Maiden over 1,600m. Lemartinel-trained As Raid ran in a close second, from Wathik W'rsan in third.

Pre-race favourite Jahid burst to the head of the 16-strong pack 50m from the line to win the third race of the night - the 2,200m Purebred Arabian Handicap. Smith had made the running on his second mount of the night, As Muheed, but could not stay the distance, finishing third behind second placed GRP Baghdad under David Smith. Lemartinel and jockey Avranche claimed the final win of the night with Rafed, who won the 1,600m Handicap for Purebred Arabians.