French journeyman Ryan Curatolo rode his first winner in the UAE when making all on Zuhoor in the silks of the President Sheikh Khalifa in the season’s third meeting at Sharjah on Saturday.
He finally tasted success on his tenth attempt. Curatolo had five rides at Al Ain’s curtain raiser on Thursday and three in Jebel Ali the following day.
He came close for his first winner in the Emirates twice when runner up at the two venues and trailed the 16-runner field in Sharjah’s opener before leading a one-two finish for the Al Asayl trainer Eric Lemartinel in the third race..
Curatolo, 28, has ridden more than 500 winners across the United States, Japan, Macau, Singapore and in the Middle East. He arrived in Dubai as retained jockey for Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid’s Jebel Ali Stables trainer Nicholas Bachalard.
The remaining five prizes were shared with trainers Majed Al Jahouri, Eric Lemartinel, Jean de Roualle and Ahmed Al Shemaili getting into the winner’s enclosure for the first time in the season.
Al Jahouri deemed Atrash’s victory under Pat Cosgrave in the second race a good start.
“He’s run well on this course,” the Emirati said. “He was runner up in his first start and then won next time last season. He was 90 per cent coming into this race and we were hopeful, and he won well at the end.”
Ernst Oertel and the eight-time UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea combined to take the opener with AF Sail.
Richard Mullen, on board De Roualle’s Bassaam, took the fourth race and Fernando Jara was next into the winner’s enclosure on board Mohamed Daggash’s ES Nahawand.
Adrie de Vries produced a strong finish on Al Shemaili’s Miniature to beat Naaeeb by a neck to deny Jara of completing a double at the meeting in the concluding thoroughbred handicap.
Meanwhile, Doug Watson couldn’t have wished for a better start to the new season.
The Red Stables trainer racked up a quick treble from the runners he entered across four races at Jebel Ali’s opening meeting on Friday.
Sam Hitchcock rode Guernsey and Dark Thunder to victories in the first two races before Pat Dobbs brought Mystique Moon home in the third race to complete the hat-trick.
Guernsey was picking up his first prize in 16 local starts. He has run consistently well throughout the last two seasons and was runner up four times before getting his head in front after a tussle to the finishing line with Rich And Famous.