Paul Hanagan made virtually every yard of the running on Nawwaar for his main employer Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in the featured 1,600m handicap, the only turf race at Meydan on Saturday evening.
Fast into stride on a rainy and blustery evening, the winner was keen in front but Hanagan was allowed to set a steady early pace and was able to settle his mount before quickening early in the straight.
“I know the horse well from England and he is only a four-year-old who can hopefully do well in Dubai. He ran well on his local debut and I was happy out in front as they let me dictate a steady pace and I knew he would quicken,” said Hanagan.
On a card sponsored by Longines, Dane O’Neill was the jockey to follow with a treble, including a double for trainer Musabah Al Muhairi with both their winners achieved over 1,400m on the all-weather.
Maltese Cat, originally first reserve, set the ball rolling in the opening maiden before Discoverer prevailed in a thrilling finish to the concluding handicap over the same course and distance.
In between, O’Neill had partnered Udabaa to victory in a 2,200m handicap, sporting the colours of his main employer, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum to initiate a double for the owner.
Trained by Doug Watson, Udaaba denied stable companion Storm Belt close to home with a third Watson runner, Mark To Market, running on late to take third to give the trainer his second 1-2-3 in a Meydan handicap this season.
Watson said: “We actually had four in the race and I thought they all had a chance but you cannot really expect to fill the first three places. Obviously it is a great result and hopefully we can find suitable races for all four – not necessarily against each other.”
Of his treble, O’Neill added: “This is my first season here in my job with Sheikh Hamdan and it has gone really well. It is always great to ride a winner for the boss and I have picked up some nice outside rides as well.
“Hopefully we can get a few more on the board at the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival.”
Another trainer whose horses remain in great heart is Satish Seemar whose Al Razi landed the 1200m handicap under apprentice Marc Monaghan who said: “I am really enjoying this chance in Dubai and this horse seems to be improving with his racing. His confidence seems to be improving and he might be able to go on and win again.
“I am grateful to Satish and the whole team for this opportunity.”
There was something of a surprise in the 1,900m handicap with Ted Durcan making all on Rebel Song who battled bravely to hold off the challenge of hot Pick Six favourite Last Fighter.
Durcan explained: “He had been off a while before his first start this season and he ran well for a long way before understandably tiring. He has improved from that and the extra trip really suited him.
“I was always going well enough and when the runner-up came to us he has really fought bravely.”
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