x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Simpson returns for another ride

The ever-eventful turf career of Rod Simpson rolls on. The Englishman has returned to the UAE to take charge of the Al Asayl Stables and is looking forward to start from where he left off.

ABU DHABI // The ever-eventful turf career of Rod Simpson rolls on. The Englishman has returned to the UAE to take charge of the Al Asayl Stables and is looking forward to start from where he left off, with 10 runners in tonight's opening meeting for Purebred Arabians at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

Simpson's first experience in training Purebred Arabians was in 2001 when he joined Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, and later head-hunted for the Jebel Ali Palace and the Millennium Stables, where he had reasonable success before returning to Great Britain to form his own company Carnival Quest. "This company was formed mainly to fly down horses for the Dubai Carnival but we just couldn't get the right horses," said Simpson who saddled 37 winners in the UAE.

"It is only one year so I hope we'll eventually get a few horses across. This offer from Al Asayl came along and here I am again in the UAE." The former Lambourn trainer, with more than 40 years experience in the job and more than 350 winners to his name in the UK, marked his return with a couple of runners in the season opener at Nad Al Sheba, Le Gusta Bailar and Men Bu Dhabi, finishing fourth and sixth respectively.

"I was pretty happy for those two and they'll come out well from the experience," said Simpson, who has five entries in the opener, a 15-runner maiden for local bred, and five more spread over three other races. "I have got around 10 unraced 3-year-old colts and have entered five of them. They all look exciting prospects to me. They are all coming out for the first time and I'll be pleased if they run a good race."

Simpson is represented by Time Out in the fourth race. He said, "This horse has run well under the previous trainer and I don't see why he won't run well again. He has been working well." The trainer was more excited about Wafidah, a three-year-old unraced daughter of Pavot Al Maury, in the next. "She is an extremely exciting little filly with a tremendous pedigree, and I expect her to run well."

And Simpson felt the other two unraced local bred three-year-old fillies, Aliaah and Men Abu Dhabi, to finish on the board. However, RS Khan - one of the first progenies of the multiple Group 1 winner Ezil - from the Al Reef Stables will be the one that the Simpson's runners will have to beat. Mohammed Ali, assistant to the Al Reef trainer Jaber Bittar, was confident of the bay colt, "He has been very impressive in his track work and I expect him to run a big first race."

Eric Lemartinel made a perfect start by saddling Murawih to claim last Thursday's opener Nad Al Sheba. The Frenchman can add to that tally with Alama and Jaifar. The final race of the card for 3-year-old local bred fillies is anyone's guess. apassela@thenational.ae