Naseem completed a big race double at Abu Dhabi on Sunday to win the Dh1 million HH The President’s Cupfor his owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, trainer Majed Al Jahouri and jockey, Harry Bentley.
With the previous three winners of the race in opposition, Naseem produced a career best effort to land the 2,200m highlight leading close home to deny last year’s winner Niseshan, just ahead of Jarnin, winner of the race in 2011 for the same owner in the most valuable Purebred Arabian contest in the UAE.
Bentley said: “His best form here at Abu Dhabi is good and he probably needed his first two runs over 1600m which is probably on the short side for him but I thought he ran really well on that second start at Meydan and was hopeful of a big run today. He has delivered in style.”
Connections were completing a big race double after, for the second year running, Thakif ran out a convincing winner of the Group 3 Al Ruwais, over the minimum trip of 1,000m, with Bentley again in the saddle for trainer Al Jahouri and owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as he was 12 months ago.
On that occasion he made virtually every yard of the running but this time, after a somewhat tardy start, he pounced close home to deny stable companion Rakha.
Bentley said: “He has plenty of speed this horse and once we entered the straight he really found his stride and I always thought we would get there.”
The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2,200m handicap, provided the perfect opportunity for the Doug Watson-trained Dr Faustus to record a second local and fourth career victory.
Pat Dobbs was in the saddle and Watson said: “It is great to see him win again as he has run so many good races in defeat.”
The Eric Lemartinel-trained AF Sanadek is improving at a rate of knots and ran on late to win the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Cup, a 1600m contest restricted to locally-foaled Purebred Arabians to record his seventh consecutive victory.
Winning jockey Gerald Avranche said: “He is amazing and just keeps on improving. Things did not really go right this evening but, yet again, he has delivered.”
Yazan scored a well deserved victory in a 1600m handicap with Richard Mullen, returning from illness having missed Meydan’s Saturday meeting, in the saddle for trainer Tony Manuel.
Mullen said: “This horse has been in great form all season but has come up against the likes of AF Sanadek and run really well in defeat so he deserves that.”
The opening 1,600m maiden was won by Sheikh Down, who with two previous starts under his belt was one of the most experienced runners in the race.
Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea was in the saddle for Ernst Oertel who was claiming his 24th winner of the season.
O’Shea said: “He is a young horse with his future ahead of him. Slowly he is learning what it is all about and it is nice to win with him as he can hopefully improve again from this.”
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