Ajrad Athbah produced a career best run to win the Dh1million Group 1 Emirates Championship for Purebred Arabians under Bernardo Pinheiro at Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
The Brazilian was winning the prize for a second successive year following his success on-board Harrab 12 months ago for the same connections.
Last year, it was in the silks of the Al Wathba Stables and this time in the colours of Yas Racing, both owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, and both trained by Majed Al Jahouri.
“I’m so glad to win this Group 1 prize for the second successive year and I have to thank everyone connected to the stables, particularly Majed, for the trust he has had in me,” Pinheiro said.
“We have a contract from last year and it has been amazing for me to ride some of the finest Purebred Arabians in the country. I always wanted to win a Group 1 for the stables this season and I’m so happy I managed to achieve that.
“This is Majed’s 15th winner of the season and the second Group 1 prize for him after the Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2 [Hayyan ridden by Oscar Chavez]. I’m so glad that I won one for him tonight. I also want him to finish with his best ever season as the first jockey for the stables.”
Pinheiro raced prominently behind the early pace-setter Patrick Cosgrave on Reem Baynounah before taking the lead at the 600-metre mark and then staying on strongly to win from Mujeeb and Izadi Star by a length and-three-quarter and short head, respectively.
“My fellow, in the book, didn’t look the best horse but I always had the confidence in him,” Pinheiro added. “I decided to go forward with the horse that set the early pace.
“At the 600-metre mark, I felt he had the power to go in front. I was sure he would finish well and at 200, he changed the legs, and I pushed him forward, and he responded brilliantly. The pace and everything that happened was in our favour tonight.
“He finished well and all those in contention for the prize were there but they couldn’t get us.”
Pinheiro was also completing a double on the night after steering Qaiss Aboud’s AF Heraqle in the second race.
Tadhg O’Shea appears to be well on his way to claim a 11th UAE jockey’s championship title after riding a double, which took his tally to 60 and 15 clear of his nearest challenger Antonio Fresu with the Dubai World Cup and three domestic meetings left.
The Irishman bagged the third race on Ernst Oertel’s AF Alzahi and the concluding thoroughbred handicap on top of Bhupat Seemar’s Webinar.