Mutlaq bin Mashref described Mubasher Al Khalediah as “the best in the Gulf” after he led a one-two finish for the Saudi Arabian trainer at the inaugural Gulf Cup for Purebred Arabians at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club on Saturday.
Jockey Abdullah Al Fairoz rode a perfectly judged race to win over the 1,700-metre distance, half-a-length ahead of stable companion Abdullah Al Odhaib on board Morheb Al Khalediah.
Tadhg O’Shea, atop the UAE bred AF Maher, was a further half-length behind in third.
Mubasher Al Khalediah’s victory takes his record to five wins and one runner-up finish from six starts.
“[Mubasher Al Khalediah] has proved he’s the best in the Gulf,” said Al Mashref. “We’ll see what’s for him next. He’s a young horse, only four, and we have lots of options to go for. This was his first race outside Saudi Arabia and he’s come out a victor.”
Al Mashref became the first Saudi Arabian trainer to saddle a winner on Dubai World Cup night when Tallaab Al Khalediah bagged the Group 1 Kahayla Classic for the Arabians last year.
However, the Kahayla is for horses aged five years and above, so his Gulf Cup winner will have to wait until next year to have a go at the Arabian showpiece, with Tallaab Al Khalediah set to defend his title next month.
“We plan to bring the same horse back to defend the Kahayla,” Al Mashref said. “We may plan a campaign for [Mubasher Al Khalediah] in Europe during the summer. He’s won his first four starts and was beaten by stables Nader Al Khalediah in his last start.
That horse finished behind him today (in sixth place). We’ll now see of the options and prepare a plan for him. He’s proved he’s the best horse in this race and the first winner of the Gulf Cup. That’s a good achievement to have.
“This race is a very good concept to promote Arabian racing, particularly in the region. We love the idea and we are sure this will be a success.”
Elsewhere on the six-race card, Szczepan Mazur celebrated his first double and a first success on a thoroughbred in the UAE. The Polish rider steered the Purebred Arabian Arif to victory for Omani trainer Younis Al Kalbani in the Shadwell Farm, before guiding Rashed Bouresley’s Call Sign to victory in the thoroughbred’s Shadwell.
Arif obliterated the field to come home more than seven lengths clear of closest challenger Joori under Pat Cosgrave. Call Sign then got the better of Sheeba, ridden by Pat Dobbs, by a length and-a-half.
“It’s been a good season for me with 10 winners so far, including a Group 1 at Meydan, and hopefully I can add a few more to this tally before the season end,” Mazur said.
“I rode the first winner for my boss and we quietly fancied his chances. I was riding for Mr Bouresly for the first time.”
In the card’s opening race, ES Ma’Rouf was an eye-catching winner on his racecourse debut under Sam Hitchcott. The well-bred colt by Big Easy, one of the leading sprinters in the UAE, won by more than two lengths ahead the Mazur-ridden SS Jalmood.
The jockey-trainer partnership of Tadhg O’Shea and Ernst Oertel was successful with AF Eshaar in the third race, before Richard Mullen on Elise Jeanne’s MH Tawag won the fifth.
Mullen’s victory took his tally to 33 and kept his one-winner lead over O’Shea in the UAE Jockey’s Championship.
The four successive days of race meetings across four venues in Dubai, Al Ain, Sharjah concludes in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The highlights of the capital’s meeting are the the Emirates Fillies Classic in the third race, and the Emirates Colts Classic in the fourth.