ABU DHABI // Seraphin Du Paon gave notice that he will again be the horse to beat in the President's Cup with a comfortable victory at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Sunday night.
Even though the defending champion's winning margin was only half a length from Timadit Al Mels, Mirco Demuro, the six year old's jockey, dropped his hands in the final 50 metres when he realised the race was in the bag.
The first two home were 10 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the 2,200-metre Prep race.
"He is our horse for the big races, and I was pretty pleased with his first race," said Ernst Oertel, Seraphin's trainer. "The President's Cup, obviously, is his next race, but the plan is to give him a race or two more than he ran last season."
Naseem was an impressive winner of the featured Arabian Triple Crown Round-1, a Listed race for four year olds.
Wayne Smith had the son of Mahabb tucked in behind the front-running Mestor before galloping on to win by 10 lengths from stable companions Rakha and Thakif.
"He did it very nicely," said Smith. "He jumped well and got a lead. I settled him behind Mestor, pulled him up in the straight and he quickened up very well."
Smith rated Naseem close to Nez D'Or, the 2002 Kahayla Classic winner. "It is a long time since I rode a very good one, like Nez D'Or, the last good Arabian I have ridden," Smith said. "This horse wouldn't be very far away from him. For a young horse he has a lot of ability. He runs like a thoroughbred. I really like him."
The first three were all trained by Majed Al Jahouri and carried the silks of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.
"They arrived from France with some decent form and they have lived up to it," Al Jahouri said.
Smith rounded off the evening by winning the solitary thoroughbred prize on Celtic King, and the trainer-jockey combination of Eric Lemartinel and Gerald Avranche also completed a double, claiming the opener with AF Sanadek and the Wathba Stud Farm Cup with Nieshan.