Yaraa wins Al Ain feature as Mullen seals double - GulfToday

Yaraa wins Al Ain feature as Mullen seals double


Yaraa, ridden by Richard Mullen, races towards the finish line to win 1800m handicap in Al Ain.

Racing at Al Ain on Friday evening was officially highlighted by a quality 1800m handicap, which was won in determined fashion by Yaraa, completing a double on the card for jockey Richard Mullen.

Winner number 11 of her debut season as a trainer for Ana Mendez, the 5-year-old mare, running in the colours of Al Wathba Racing tracked early leader Prado Du Panjshir, seeking a third Al Ain victory this year.

The race developed into a duel throughout the entirety of the straight. Mullen’s mount looked to be going best but had to work hard to get past Prado Du Panjshir, who kept battling for Antonio Fresu and, once headed about 250m out, again fighting back. It was only in the final 75m Mullen could afford to relax with his mount doubling her career tally with her first UAE and dirt success.

“I had a very willing partner today,” Mullen said. “Three starts ago she ran very well when second in a good race at Sharjah but had not built on that. Fair play to Ana and her team because they had her in great shape for this race today. That 1800m is probably as far as she would want stamina wise, certainly at the moment, but with the determined attitude she showed, it should hold her in good stead.” The only Thoroughbred contest, a 2600m handicap, proved the ideal stamina test for Blue Sovereign, who led close home under Richard Mullen for Al Bait Mutawahed Team and Erwan Charpy. Settled towards the rear of the main group of runners, the 5-year-old Teofilo gelding started to make headway early in the straight but it was only in the final 150m he really loomed as a danger before sweeping past East Asia and Antimo who has been locked in battle for fully 700m. Previously a maiden, after 11 starts, all in the UAE and for these connections, Blue Sovereign was third on his only previous Al Ain visit, staying on at the same pace over 2000m behind Antimo, four weeks ago.

“The horse has always been staying on well in his races so we thought the 2600m would suit him here,” Charpy said. “He has stayed the trip well under a good ride from Richard and it is nice to see this finally get his head in front because he has run some good races in defeat.” The opening 1400m handicap, for horses in private ownership, looked competitive on paper, but only one horse among the 15 was ever really competitive with Fabrice Veron sending Shivan OA straight to the front and the pair hardly seeing another rival for owner Saleh Omar Ali bin Haidar. A welcome winner for Helal Al Alawi who trains in Al Ain, the 9-year-old gelding was registering a third career victory, second in the UAE for Al Alawi and first since November 2017 when successful over 2200m on the Abu Dhabi turf.

Veron said: “The trainer was pretty confident the horse would run well and wanted me to be positive because the horse stays further. He was happy out in front, quickened clear at the top of the straight and, although getting tired, galloped on well.” Alawi was celebrating a double on the card, this time combining with Connor Beasley to land the 1800m maiden for horses foaled in the UAE with Mihwal,who, having tracked the early speed, was sent to the front at the top of the long straight and able to fight off various challengers with a gutsy display. A 4-year-old colt, he is homebred by Ali Haddad who raced the horse’s sire, Nieshan, with distinction, big race victories including the Group 1 HH The President Cup in 2012 and three successive Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 triumphs between 2011 and 2013.

Haddad said: “That is very gratifying to win with a homebred and one by my good horse Nieshan. I also raced the dam at the end of her career but she did not win for me.”


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