Jockey Fernado Jara and trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi combined to land a winning double at Meydan’s third meeting of the season on Thursday evening.
They were joined by another trainer Satish Seemar who also landed a pair at the Longines-sponsored meeting in the UAE.
The first success for the Jara/ Al Rayhi combination came in the Longines Conquest V H P thanks to a narrow victory for Al Modayar. The winner was prominent throughout in the 1400 metre maiden restricted to 2-year-old colts and geldings and overcame a strong bid from the Seemar-trained Commanding to win by a neck. That leading pair were some distance from race favourite Laa Baas in third who was over seven lengths adrift.
Jockey and trainer then had to wait until the evening’s finale, the Longines La Grande Classique handicap over the same distance which was won in workmanlike style by Zaajer. The winner held off a game and persistent Mayaadeen to come in three-quarters of a length clear, with Speedy Move unable to justify favouritism by coming in a length and a half back in third.
The first of Seemar’s quick-fire double came in the featured Thoroughbred contest, the Longines Master Collection which saw the trainer come away with a one-two finish. This was thanks to the Tadhg O’Shea-ridden George Villiers chasing down Bochart and apprentice Sean Kirrane in the closing stages, this despite the former being closer to last than first leaving the back straight in the 1600 metre contest. However O’Shea got his mount making progress between horses before digging deep to win by half a length. Mark Of Approval was third a further length and a half back.
Seemar then completed the pair of winners after another one-two finish in the 1200 metre Longines DolceVita handicap. Here it was Connor Beasley and filly Lady Parma who showed the boys who was in command, holding off yard-mate Way of Wisdom and jockey Richard Mullen to eventually win by tow and three-quarter lengths. Gervais came in third trailing by the same margin. Way of Wisdom’s second place finish also means Seemar had saddled the runner-up in the first five Thoroughbred races.
Elsewhere on the card at Meydan, the evening kicked off with the first Purebred Arabian contest at the course this season, the 1400 metre Group 2 Bani Yas presented by Longines Hydroconquest. And it was the same story as last year with the contest won in smart style by Sheikh Abdulla bin Majed Al Qassem’s Ibrahim Aseeli-trained ES Ajeeb. The winner was never headed under regular pilot Sam Hitchcott and once well away, the pair were soon able to get across to the rail and clear at halfway, a position they never looked likely to be caught. ES Ajeeb did visibly tire in the final 150m as Aatebat Al Khalediah closed determinedly to come up just short, while slow-starting Mawahib, second 12 months ago by a nose in this race, ran on impressively for third.
In the Longines Conquest Classic maiden, Galaxy Road snatched victory from runner-up Underwriter having looked anything but a winner at the halfway point of the 1200 metre contest. However that position soon changed as Galaxy Road came from last and flew home in the final 300 metres, jockey Antonio Fresu even affording the luxury of easing up at the wire before winning by three lengths. Celtic Prince was third a further half-length back.
The Longines Record Collection saw Gundogdu signal his intentions early before landing the 1900 metre handicap. Under Xavier Ziani the horse shot out of the starting stalls and seemed to be allowed an uncontested lead in before scampering clear at the top of the straight. Eventual third and race favourite Tradesman was one who tried to go after him, but he was denied second place close to home by Cachao by a short head.
The next meeting at Meydan Racecourse is on Thursday 5 December.