x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Rakha and Sha’Red too close to call in Abu Dhabi horse racing

Sha’Red got up in the last couple of strides under James Doyle to end in a dead-heat with Rakha, last year’s runner up, ridden by the Godolphin jockey Silvestre de Sousa in the Group 3 Al Ruwais, reports Amith Passela.

Rakha, left, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, and Sha’Red, ridden by James Doyle, finished in a dead heat in the Al Ruwais sprint at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday night. Lee Hoagland / The National
Rakha, left, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, and Sha’Red, ridden by James Doyle, finished in a dead heat in the Al Ruwais sprint at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday night. Lee Hoagland / The National

ABU DHABI // Yousif Al Bloushi saddled his first winner in flat racing but had to share the prize with fellow Emirati trainer Majed Al Jahouri, both of whom train for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed at the Al Wathba Stables.

Sha’Red, making his local debut for Al Bloushi, got up in the last couple of strides under James Doyle to end in a dead-heat with Rakha, last year’s runner up, ridden by the Godolphin jockey Silvestre de Sousa in the Group 3 Al Ruwais.

Thakif, the winner of the 1,000-metre dash the past two years, finished third as the trio in the silks of Sheikh Mansour made a clean sweep of the main prize in the six-race card on Sunday night at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

“It is nice to have one on the board,” said Al Bloushi, who was appointed as the second Emirati trainer for Sheikh Mansour earlier in the season.

“Sha’Red is only four and is best over the sprint distances. He arrived with some decent form and ran a very good first race for me. I think he’s done for this season and hopefully be back next season.”

It was also the grey son of Bibi De Carrere’s first local start after arriving from France where he won one race and placed second and third in six career starts.

De Sousa was quick out of Gate 1 on Rakha, dashing along the rails, and was joined at the front by Doyle on Sha’Red for the last 50m.

Harry Bentley, trying to win the race for the third time on Thakif, made his challenge from the outside along with the Ernst Oertel-trained Wycked under Tadhg O’Shea, but could only finish a further half-a-length behind in third and fourth place, respectively.

“We expected big runs from both Rakha and Thakif,” Al Jahouri said. “Thakif had run twice and was the fitter of the two. They finished first and second in the same race last year and we expected one of them to win.

“Rakha finished the better of the two on the night. She was drawn closest to the rail and took the shortest cut home.”

Doyle steered Jaber Bittar’s Ragdan to clinch the Abu Dhabi Gold Cup from stable companion Ameer Al Reef under Jesus Rosales by a short head in the preceding race.

Paul Hanagan, the two-time champion jockey, made every yard of the running on Amaan to win the concluding thoroughbred prize for Erwan Charpy, the first winner for the Blue Stables trainer in Abu Dhabi this season.

“He kept it straight forward and did it very nicely,” said Hanagan, the retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.

“This win was quite overdue if you see his form in the last three races in Abu Dhabi. He was runner-up twice and before that had finished a good third. So he was the form horse in this field.”

apassela@thenational.ae

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