Fresu completes treble with Al Ain Mile glory - GulfToday

Fresu completes treble with Al Ain Mile glory


Dagui Lotois wins the featured Al Ain Mile for trainer Ahmed Al Mehairbi under Antonio Fresu.

The 1600m Group 3 Al Ain Mile, the biggest race of the season in the Garden City, was the undoubted highlight of Friday’s meeting in Al Ain, especially for connections of Dagui Lotois who proved a class apart from his ten rivals.

Antonio Fresu, completing a treble on the card, oozed confidence throughout on the 5-year-old entire, saddled by Ahmed Al Mehairbi for Al Rahmani Racing, hugging the rail on the home turn.

The ground they saved propelled them from about fourth into a threatening position and, once Fresu pressed the accelerator, they dashed to the front with the race in safekeeping with fully 300m remaining.

All three of the horse’s career victories have been registered here at Al Ain, this following consecutive victories in a maiden over 1800m in January last year followed by a 2000m conditions race a fortnight later.

In fact, his only defeat at his favourite track was suffered on his seasonal return, in a handicap over 1800m, in November, tiring late on when attempting to concede lumps of weight to his14 rivals.

He arrived here after finishing fourth in the 1600m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 and third in both the 1900m second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge and, on the Abu Dhabi turf, over 2200m in His Highness The President Cup, also Group One contests.

A 2000m maiden for horses foaled in the UAE was dominated by runners prepared at Al Asayl by Eric Lemartinel, the Frenchman supplying the first three home, headed by Antonio Fresu aboard Minwer.

The Italian jockey was sat motionless when carried to the front at the top of the long straight with it soon apparent virtually all his 14 rivals were beaten.

The exception proved to be Sundus who was closing in the final 200m, without ever really looking likely to get there under Fabrice Veron. Stablemate Al Bateen completed the Lemartinel 1-2-3.

A 4-year-old gelding, he was shedding his maiden tag at the seventh attempt, sixth on this track with a solitary Abu Dhabi turf effort in Abu Dhabi among his previous appearances.

He becomes the second horse to carry the silks of Sheikh Khalifa bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan to victory, following dual heroine Mumayaza, most recently victorious in the Emirates Fillies Classic in the middle of last month.

Lemartinel said: “As this horse gets older, bigger, stronger and more experienced, he has improved with his racing. He is only a 4-year-old and, you would hope, with more improvement to come.”

Trainer and jockey later doubled up with Muthhel, Fabrice Veron again second on a stable companion, this time Eyjabi, in a 1600m maiden. Both are homebred 4-year-old geldings who race in the silks of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Veron’s mount having just his second start.

He was third on debut, whereas the winner arrived with extra experience, losing his maiden tag at the fourth attempt, having previously finished ninth on both starts locally, but in better quality races than a maiden.

The best quality from a pair of 2000m handicaps proved a memorable occasion for trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, who was able to relax over the final 300m when his stablemates Asif and Salb forged clear of 11 toiling rivals, the former landing the spoils under Szczepan Mazur.

The four-year-old colt has now won four of his six career appearances, but remains unbeaten on dirt surfaces with a debut success in Muscat now followed by three consecutive Al Ain victories.

Sandwiched between were two less successful, albeit in decent races, attempts on the Abu Dhabi turf. This was the longest trip he has tackled to date, his Muscat victory over 1600m followed by two here at Al Ain, the second month ago.

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