Ajwad, ridden by Bernardo Pinheiro, races towards the finish line during the Zabeel Trophy on Friday.
Racing at Meydan on Friday, the first post-Dubai World Cup meeting ever at the track, was highlighted by the Zabeel Trophy sponsored by Emirates Airline, a 1600m turf conditions race that was turned into a procession by Ajwad, who was sent straight to the front by Bernardo Pinheiro and never saw any of his 15 rivals afterward.
A 6-year-old son of Rock of Gibraltar, he sports the colours of the Bouresly Racing Syndicate, whose horses are trained by Rashed Bouresly.
A comprehensive winner of a course and distance handicap on his penultimate start, again when never headed under Pinheiro, he finished fifth behind subsequent Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint winner Blue Point in the 1200m Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint just seven days later on Super Saturday.
Pinheiro said: “He is a super horse and definitely a favourite of mine who I have now won on twice from just three efforts and, if Super Saturday was a week later, he would have been third behind Blue Point with a bit more time between races.
“He had enjoyed a nice break before today and I was always confident because I knew I was travelling strongly. This is a (Dubai World Cup) Carnival horse for next year.”
The main support race, the Emirates Skywards, a 1200m turf handicap, produced a dramatic finish with opinion divided as to whom had prevailed when Rocket Power and Riflescope flashed past the line together.
The judge’s verdict went to the former who appeared to hit the front, in the centre, 250m out and was just able to hold the late challenge, towards the nearside rail, of Riflescope who failed by a short-head.
Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash for Mohd Khalifa Al Basti, the 6-year-old gelded son of Kyllachy has enjoyed a prolific campaign and was registering his fifth victory of the season, ridden by Connor Beasley on each occasion.
“He has just been brilliant this season and all credit to both the horse and the yard because he has been on the go since the start of November and had already run ten times before tonight,” Beasley said. “He was a 1200m winner at Jebel Ali last year and has plenty of speed. Once we hit the front, I knew he would run all the way to the line, as he stays further.”
The Jafza, a 2000m turf maiden, is a race that owner Adnan Khan will never forget after his predominantly green colours were carried to victory for the very first time, with just his fifth starter, when Dolmen landed the spoils under Richard Mullen for Satish Seemar. A 4-year-old gelded son of Dawn Approach and half-brother to Group 1 winner Odeliz, he was unraced before February before showing promise on three dirt outings, especially on his previous run when third over 1800m at Jebel Ali. However, the switch to turf, as you would expect as a son of Dawn Approach, suited. Having been settled in midfield, he made smooth progress to lead 200m out and was never going to be caught.
‘It seems to have been a long wait to have my first winner and it has made me quite tearful,” Khan said. “Bhupat and Satish picked this horse out for me and we always thought turf was going to suit him and that has proved to be the case. Now he has won, hopefully he can do so again.
As well as turf, he has shown last time that he can handle Jebel Ali, so that could open up other options.”
For a race over 2200m dirt handicap, the District One Elegance Stretch Cup was seemingly contested at a frantic early gallop with Secret Trade and Immortalised both appearing ‘tailed off’ with a circuit ago, but it was said pair who dominated the finish. With rivals tiring and dropping by the wayside from a long way out, Secret Trade made smooth progress under Olivier Doleuze and when they hit the front 150m from home, they appeared to have the race in safe keeping. Such would have made it four consecutive victories for the campaigner, but it was not meant to be, as Tadhg O’Shea was galvanising Immortalised, who flew home to lead near the line and complete a double for Seemar. Owned by Imhamed M I Nagem, the 5-year-old is a son of the great Frankel.
Seemar said: “This horse does not make life easy for his jockey because he tends to be slowly away and lose ground. The key then is not to give up on him because he stays well and Tadhg has given him a great ride tonight.”
Eleven may have gone to post for the opening 1600m dirt maiden, the Jebel Ali Port, but only one horse ever really looked likely to be successful in Moojib, who disputed the early lead with stable companion Right Flank before easing clear at the top of the straight for a facile victory. Doug Watson stable jockey Pat Dobbs was aboard.