Thomas Fourcy couldn’t have wished for a better gift on his 42nd birthday.
The Frenchman’s two runners — Lady Princess and Hoggar De L’Ardes — came home first and second in the Dh5million ($1.36m) Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday.
“They were the two highest-rated horses on the field and they were also winners of Group 1 prizes, so we were hopeful,” Fourcy said.
“However, I couldn’t wish for a better result than to saddle the first two home. It’s been a wonderful night.”
Jim Crowley on board Lady Princess came with a late strong run to collar her stable companion under Maxime Guyon by three lengths.
Frederic Sanchez’s Hayyan in the silks of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed’s Yas Horse Racing Management took third spot meaning French-trained runners took the first three spots.
“Fantastic,” Crowley said. “She’s princess by name and princess by nature. She went around nicely. We went at a good pace.
“My only concern was to get a bit of room but I always had so much horse and she kept well. She had a good trip and once we got over to the final bend we got a clear run.”
Crowley completed a double half-an-hour later by steering Erwan Charpy’s Moqtarreb to victory in the Listed Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup for thoroughbreds.
Hameem stretched his unbeaten run to seven with an impressive victory in the Group 3 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup for Purebred Arabians.
His jockey Pat Cosgrave had to bring him around a wall of horses and the four year old son of Valiant Boy responded by cruising on to the front on the home stretch to win from Salem Al Ketbi’s pair RB Money To Burn and Nadhra by two lengths and a neck respectively.
“We were a bit circumspect of his fitness for this race,” his handler Abdallah Al Hammadi said.
“He had a small setback and trained on late. Tonight he showed his class as a very good horse. He had to overcome traffic and when Pat got him around, he showed superb cruising speed to win comfortably at the end.”
Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and Antonio Fresu, the trainer-jockey partnership, won two prizes on the night.
They clinched the Sheikha Fatima bin Mubarak Cup for fillies and mares with Ihtesham, and the Purebred Arabian Cup with Bahar Muscat, to complete the double.
It could have been three from three for Al Hadhrami had Jabalini not gone down in a photo to Mohamed Daggash’s Dergham Athbah under Tadhg O’Shea in the opener.
“We thought they all had chances and to have two wins and a second-place prize in the first three races was a wonderful result for us on the night,” Al Hadhrami said.
“Jabalini is a two-time winner over the track and trip, and Ihtesham has won four times on the track, including twice over tonight’s distance.
“Bahar Muscat was winning his second race in two starts and he looks a bright young prospect in the stables. He’s only three and he impressed us back home in Muscat on his first run, and we decided to bring him to Abu Dhabi.”
5pm Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Racing Festival — Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner Dergham Athbah, Tadhg O’Shea (trainer), Mohamed Daggash (trainer)
5.30pm Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup — Conditions for fillies and mares (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner Ihtesham, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
6pm Purebred Arabian Cup — Conditions (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner Bahar Muscat, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
6.30pm Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup — Group 3 (PA) Dh500,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner Hameem, Patrick Cosgrave, Abdallah Al Hammadi
7.15pm Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Jewel Crown — Group 1 (PA) Dh5,000,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner Lady Princess, Jim Crowley, Thomas Faucy
7.45pm Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan President’s Cup — Listed (TB) Dh380,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner Moqtarreb, Jim Crowley, Erwan Charpy
8.15pm Wathba Stallions Cup — Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner Al Suhooj, Saif Al Balushi, Khalifa Al Neyadi