First Classs wins Jewel Crown to complete big race double in the Emirates

French-trained runner takes home Dh5million prize from last year’s winner Lady Princess in Abu Dhabi

Ronan Thomas on First Classs winning the Dh5million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Adiyat Racing Plus
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First Classs lived up to his name on Sunday after becoming the first horse to win the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic and the Dh5million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown for Purebred Arabians in the same year.

RESULTS

5pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Racing Festival – Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner: Suny Du Loup, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Hamad Al Marar (trainer)
5.30pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Racing Festival Cup – Conditions (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Nadia Du Loup, Antonio Fresu, Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi
6pm: Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup – Conditions (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Dareen, Dane O’Neill, Jean de Roualle
6.30pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup – Group 3 (PA) Dh500,000
Winner: AF Alwajel, Pat Dobbs, Ernst Oertel
7.15pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown – Group 1 (PA) Dh5,000,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: First Classs, Ronan Thomas, Jean De Mieulle
8pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup – Listed (TB) Dh380,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: San Donato, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson
8.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Rasam, Fernando Jara, Ernst Oertel

Trained in France by Jean de Mieulle and with Ronan Thomas in the saddle in the silks of Nayef Saad Al Kaabi, First Classs got the better of last year’s winner, Lady Princess, by a length in Abu Dhabi’s biggest meeting of the season on Sunday.

Abdallah Al Hammadi’s local bred Hameem was a further three lengths down to finish a creditable third ahead of Jean de Roualle’s multiple Group 1 winner Somoud.

Thomas settled First Classs in fourth spot in the leading group before making smooth progress entering the home turn to quicken to the front in the straight and stave off the late challenge of Lady Princess under Jim Crawley.

“They went quite quick up front so I was happy to take my time and he was always travelling happily before picking up very well. He then galloped all the way to the line,” Thomas said. “I am very proud of him because Lady Princess is very good indeed.”

The main support race, the 1,600m Group 3 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup, was taken fairly comprehensively by AF Alwajel, homebred by Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, saddled by Ernst Oertel and a spare ride for Pat Dobbs who replaced the absent Tadhg O’Shea in the saddle.

Returning after exactly one year off the track, AF Alwajel showed few signs of rustiness, and Oertel said: “I am very proud of my horse after such a long absence and it is great to win such a big prize with a horse bred in the UAE.”

Also over the 1,600m distance, the Listed Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup provided Dobbs with a third winner on the card, partnering local debutant San Donato to an impressive victory on his first start for Doug Watson.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid San Donato was returning to the racetrack after an absence of 599 days.

“Doug and his team have done a great job with him and to have fit to do that after such a long break. He had been working well so I was quite hopeful,” Dobbs said.

Dobbs’ first winner of the evening was on Suny Du Loup for Hamad Al Marar in the opening race – the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival – a handicap run over 2,200m.

Oertel and Al Naboodah also won two prizes when Fernando Jara brought home AF Rasam in the concluding Wathba Stallions Cup handicap.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 10:06 AM
RESULTS

5pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Racing Festival – Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner: Suny Du Loup, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Hamad Al Marar (trainer)
5.30pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Racing Festival Cup – Conditions (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Nadia Du Loup, Antonio Fresu, Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi
6pm: Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup – Conditions (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Dareen, Dane O’Neill, Jean de Roualle
6.30pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup – Group 3 (PA) Dh500,000
Winner: AF Alwajel, Pat Dobbs, Ernst Oertel
7.15pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown – Group 1 (PA) Dh5,000,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: First Classs, Ronan Thomas, Jean De Mieulle
8pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup – Listed (TB) Dh380,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: San Donato, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson
8.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Rasam, Fernando Jara, Ernst Oertel