Bernardo Pinheiro enjoyed the biggest payday of his career by steering Harrab to victory in the Dh1 million ($272,000) Group 1 Emirates Championship for Purebred Arabians in Abu Dhabi’s penultimate race meeting on Sunday.
It was his third Group 1 prize and the first in the UAE after success at the highest level in Brazil and Malaysia.
Pinheiro was on top of the Majed Al Jahouri-trained seven year old son of Bibi De Carrere when he won the Al Ain Cup at the season-ending meeting in Al Ain. However, he’s gone winless in six starts before grabbing his biggest career prize in his seventh attempt.
“I love this horse,” Pinheiro said. “I rode him last year for the first time and won, but we didn’t have any success when I rode him in five of his six starts this season, until tonight.
“This is what I was wishing for, to end the season with a Group 1 success. This horse has now given me the best gift. He has always given the best for me and of course this stable has supported me throughout the season.”
Pinheiro had to draw all his might to keep Harrab in front of Fernando Jara on Jawal Al Reef to win by a short head with RB Frynchh Dude a further length and-a-quarter behind in third.
Jean de Roualle’s Somoud, under Adrie de Vries, chasing his third title, could only finish fourth in the 14-runner field.
“I was confident we had the race even as we finished locked together with Jawal Al Reef,” Pinheiro added.
“I saw Jara coming very strong from the inside but my fella battled on again to just hold on to that challenge. He’s a fighter and he showed his character tonight.”
Pinheiro was completing a double on the night after riding Mohamed Daggash’s Sharkh to an impressive victory in the third race.
He took his tally to 23 winners and fourth overall behind Tadhg O’Shea (64), Antonio Fresu (57) and Richard Mullen (27).
Fresu also completed a double on the night to narrow down the UAE jockeys championship title lead on O’Shea to seven.
The Italian won the UAE Arabian Derby on board Ibrahim Al Hadhrami’s Haroon and completed the double by claiming the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship for the thoroughbreds on Bhupat Seemar’s Law Of Peace.
O’Shea had earlier pipped Fresu on the bob of a head to take the opening prize on Ernst Oertel’s AF Layth by a nose from ES Sudani.
5pm Al Rabi Tower – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,600m
Winner AF Layth, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)
5.30pm Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner Astrel Del Sol, Sean Kirrane, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
6pm Hili Tower – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner Sharkh, Bernardo Pinheiro, Mohamed Daggash
6.30pm UAE Arabian Derby – Prestige (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner Haroon, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
7pm Emirates Championship – Group 1 (PA) Dh1,000,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner Harrab, Bernardo Pinheiro, Majed Al Jahouri
7.30pm Abu Dhabi Championship – Listed (TB) Dh380,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner Law Of Peace, Antonio Fresu, Bhupat Seemar