Winning doubles and close finishes at Saturday’s Racing at Meydan
Racing at Meydan on Saturday proved to be a night of thrilling finishes including the evening’s feature race, the Al Naboodah Construction Group Handicap for the Ahmad bin Harmash-trained Rocket Power.
Ridden by Connor Beasley, Rocket Power was able to record a fourth consecutive victory this season in the 1400 metre contest on the turf, however it was a close run decision with the winner taking the honours by a head having been chased home by stable companion Azraff.
Trainer and jockey completed a double in the second turf race and the seventh and final race of the meeting when Muqaatil took out the Al Naboodah Contracting Handicap.
This finish was even closer with the race won by the slightest of noses over Doublet and Mickael Barzalona for trainer Sandeep Jadhav, with race favourite Vale Do Sol coming four lengths further back in third.
Bin Harmash said: “We decided to come here over 1400 metres on the turf because (Rocket Power) was not rated highly enough for the Jebel Ali Mile, so we now know he is as good on the Meydan grass.
“The Jebel Ali Mile is next week, so we will have to see how the handicapper reacts and how the horse is after this race. If not, we will find something back here on turf at Meydan in the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
“The horse is in such great form at the moment and, on the whole, all ours have been running well throughout the season.”
Tadhg O’Shea on the Argentina-bred J B Space dominated the opening 1900 metre dirt maiden, the Al Naboodah Trade School. Saddled by Satish Seemar, the horse was having his sixth career start, but first over a trip further than 1400 metre and the extra distance clearly suited him as the horse and jockey came in by 10 lengths clear of Grecian Spirit in second and Muwaaly in third.
The Al Naboodah Civil Engineering, one of two 1600 metre dirt handicaps, was won in style by Moqarrar.
Ridden by Dane O’Neill, riding for his main employer, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, it was the horse’s second start in the UAE after winning only one of seven with Sir Michael Stoute in England.
On this occasion though victory looked assured as Moqarrar took the lead early and ended up winning well by five and a half lengths, giving a first Meydan winner of the campaign for Erwan Charpy.
The Al Naboodah Building Handicap, run over 1200 metres on the dirt provided the perfect opportunity for Nine Below Zero to make a winning local debut, as well as opening the seasonal account of trainer Fawzi Nass and owners Al-Afoo Racing Stable.
Only six went to post with Adrie de Vries settling the 4-year-old in third, allowing Pirate’s Cove and Beachcomber Bay to set a generous gallop. Nine Below Zero swept past those rivals to bound clear in the closing stages winning by three and half lengths for a fourth success.
The longest dirt race on the card was the Trans Gulf Electro-Mechanical, a 2200 metre handicap, and it proved to be a thriller with Big Brown Bear and Quartier Francais locked together throughout the final 300 metres. The pair ultimately sprinted 16½ lengths clear of eventual third Cachao, but it was Big Brown Bear, ridden by Pat Dobbs, who clawed his way back after being headed by Quartier Francais and ultimately managed to get his head in front at the line for trainer Doug Watson, providing his first of two wins on the night.
The other victory came in the night’s sixth race, the other 1600 metre handicap – the Al Naboodah National Plant – where Dale Brennan’s Illusional ran down Robin Weathers to win by a half-length.
The next racing at Meydan is on Thursday, 24 January, with the fourth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival.