DUBAI: The 2019 edition of the $ 1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic sponsored by Mubadala will go down as one of the most thrilling in the history of the Group 1 PA race.
Neck to neck the locally trained AF Maher and the Polish raider Fazza Al Khalediah battled it to the line of the 2000m race that is run on dirt.
With 300m to go, AF Maher lost his advantage that he had held since the gates opened, but he fought back and slowly but surely got his head in front once more to pass the winning post as the new victor of this Purebred Arabian classic.
“You need courage and that is what he has,” said his jubilant jockey Tadhg O’Shea, who had had the choice between the 6-year-old son of AF Al Buraq and AF Raad and the other Ernst Oertel-trained runner AF Al Sajanjle.
Only a few hours before the race, he said he was hoping to have made the right choice after AF Maher had impressively disposed of Ziyadd in his prep race, which statistically has not been the greatest pointer towards the Kahayla Classic.
“Statistics and records are there to be broken,” he continued. “I have had great belief in this horse and already told Ernst (Oertel) a long time ago that I thought he was very good. He was still very unexposed and it was always the plan to take him to the front and set the pace. It’s been ten years since I won this race on the mighty Mizzna and it’s just absolutely amazing to win it again.”
Owned by Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, AF Maher offered Ernst Oertel his first victory in this race and the trainer said: “This is what Arabians do. They battle. I’m so happy and I’m lost for words. I am just so proud.”
The who’s who of the horse racing fraternity from across the globe will converge on Meydan as the biggest sporting event of the year, the $35m Dubai World Cup – making it the world’s richest race day – unfolds on Saturday.
Cross Counter successfully bridged the gap between Australia and the UAE with a brilliant victory for jockey William Buick over Isopolini – like the winner a 4-year-old owned by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby – in the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2), run over 3200m and with a purse of $1.5m.
The nine races, highlighted by the $12 million Dubai World Cup, have attracted some of the World’s best race horses to Dubai.
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