Al Roba'A Al Khali under Al Moatasem Al Balushi took the Gulf Cup for Purebred Arabians across the border to Oman after an impressive win at the Sharjah Racing and Equestrian Club on Saturday.
The five-year-old son of Za’eem ASF started to hang badly after taking over the running on home stretch, but he had just enough stamina left to finish two-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of Saudi Arabia’s Shareq Al Khalediah over the 1,700-metre trip.
“He has run all his races in right handed tracks and that was the only worry we had of him when we arrived here for the race,” Hamed Salim Rashid Al Balushi, the owner-breeder of the winner said.
“Moatasem has ridden him in his last two wins including the Oman Derby for the Arabians and he handled the situation very well. This is his biggest career prize. We’ll go back home and decide where he goes next.”
Al Roba’A Al Khali stretched his winning streak to four. “He’s got a fantastic record and this was his first race outside Oman,” Al Balushi said.
The inaugural Gulf Cup in 2019 was won by Saudi Arabia’s Mubasher Al Khalediah and the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained AF Momtaz landed the prize for the Emirati owner-breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah last year.
Khalifa Al Neyadi landed a double with two jockeys at the meeting. The Omani apprentice Saif Al Balushi rode AF Mozhell to victory in the opener and the Brazilian Bernardo Pinheiro on board AF Eshaar in the fourth race.
Al Balushi tracked the leaders, took up the running at the 200m mark and stayed on strongly to win from AF Hajeej and Algharbi by three quarter length and a length-and-a-half, respectively.
Pinheiro rode a similar race on AF Eshaar to lead a one-two finish for the stables. He came clear of Inthar under Al Balushi by two-and-three-quarter lengths with and Helal Al Alawi’s Al Hazeer a further quarter length behind in third.
“They have both run some good races in defeat and wasn’t surprising to see them win today,” Al Neyadi said.
“AF Mozhell went down by a neck at this track in his last start three weeks ago and AF Eshaar was also runner up at the track and trip two races earlier. I think they were both due for a win and they didn’t disappoint.”