Mujeeb, ridden by Fabrice Veron, races towards the finish line at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The final UAE race meeting of 2020 was at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, highlighted by the Listed 1600m Abu Dhabi Championship, restricted to 3-year-olds and won relatively comfortably by Mujeeb under Fabrice Veron.
Having his third start for Eric Lemartinel and his main patron, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the homebred grey colt had made a winning debut here in the capital in early November, but was then well beaten on his only subsequent start in a conditions race over this 1600m course and distance.
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He bounced back in style, travelling strongly for Veron in midfield before the pair were able to sneak up the rail leaving the home turn and were soon in front in the short straight. Defeat thereafter never looked likely with Ottoman, finishing fast from the rear, getting closest, but without appearing likely to deny Veron’s mount.
The final two races were both Thoroughbred handicaps, the first over 1600m and Veron completed a double, partnering Shanaghai City to a smooth success, just as he had done over 1000m at Jebel Ali last Friday, for Rashed Bouresly. Having stalked early leader Faith And Fortune, Veron drove his mount to the front when that rival weakened with about 250m remaining. The 4-year-old Shanghai Bobby colt stayed on resolutely to record a third career success, but first on turf, at just the second attempt. His first success was also over the Jebel Ali 1000m, in March, and he has now won three of his four most recent outings.
The concluding 1400m handicap, the final race of 2020 in the UAE, looked competitive on paper, but was turned into a cakewalk by the impressive seasonal debutant Nayslayer who stormed clear in the final 200m under Bernardo Pinheiro for Jaber Ramadhan and the Bahrain Racing Team.
A capacity field of 12 contested the opening 2200m maiden in which Pat Cosgrave always looked happy aboard Zalman, the pair hitting the front 200m out and always holding the late challenge of AF Ramz who chased him home just ahead of Will Power who flew home in the final 300m to claim third. Having his tenth career start, the 4-year-old colt had finished second over the same course and distance when chasing home, the very useful Ihtesham in the UAE Arabian Derby in March.The owners were celebrating a quick double just 30 minutes later, this time combining with Mohamed Daggash who saddled Hisham Al Khalediah II who was probably never headed under Fernando Jara in a 1600m maiden.
Latifa of Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, clocked a winning time of 47.00 seconds while Mia Noor Annelie of Al Forsan Sports Resort and Hessa Al Haram — FBMA Rider, finished second and third.
At Al Forsan International Sports Resort, fans were treated to an entertaining day of action with the riders from the UAE, region and across the world taking part in six categories across eight classes.
The Grand Prix was one of six categories to take place on the fourth and final day of the event which is one of the most respected competitions on the international equestrian circuit.
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