Nieshan storms to victory in HH The President of the UAE Cup
Nieshan clinched the HH The President of the UAE Cup, Abu Dhabi's most prestigious and valuable Purebred Arabian race of the season, with a driving finish to deny 2011 winner Seraphin Du Paon after a titanic duel over the last 200 metres.
Third in this race last year, the Eric Lemartinel-trained Nieshan then won the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round III at Meydan before finding only his old rival Seraphin Du Paon too good in the Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night.
The six-year-old was having his fifth start of the season and, having been defeated on three occasions over 1,600m, he returned to winning ways in a 2,200m conditions race four weeks ago.
That win clearly did his confidence the power of good and he responded gallantly to jockey Gerald Avranche's urgings.
The winning jockey said: "He is obviously a horse with a lot of class but was finding 1,600m too short in his first races. He ran very well in all these big races last season and bounced back to winning ways last time in a lesser contest. This was his main early season target and a great prize to win. I am sure he will now be aimed at Meydan and (Dubai) World Cup night."
Seraphin Du Paon's connections were denied in the big race but his trainer and jockey, Ernst Oertel and Mirco Demuro, did win the opening 1,400m maiden with debutant Manisha.
Demuro then completed a rapid double when partnering the Hassan Saleh Al Hammadi-owned and trained Meshwar to victory in the following 1,600m handicap.
Demuro said: "That is the perfect start to a very important evening."
The main support race was the Group 3 Al Ruwais over the minimum trip of 1,000m and it was won in style by Thakif with Harry Bentley in the saddle for trainer Majed Al Jahouri.
The impressive winner of a 1,600m maiden on his penultimate start, the four-year-old coped admirably with the drop in trip to the delight of his young jockey who said: "He impressed me when we won that maiden and I thought he would go well this evening but he has probably surprised me winning that well."
Richard Hills was in the saddle on Najem Al Khalij who won the 1,600m Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup for Jaber Bittar and Al Reef Stables with the six-year-old registering his third win from five starts this season.
Erwan Charpy trained the progressive Versac PY who registered his third win of the campaign in the 2200m handicap with Tadhg O'Shea always looking confident on the five-year-old.
The jockey said: "He is a nice young horse and it would be nice to think he has more improvement to come over this kind of trip as the 1,600m has caught him out the last twice."
The only Thoroughbred race on the card was the concluding 1,600m handicap and Laa Rayb opened his local account at the eighth attempt for trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam with William Buick in the saddle.
Selvaratnam said: "He was probably unlucky at Meydan last time and it is great to see him get his head back in front."
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