Muntazah made his first visit to Abu Dhabi a winning one by scooping the Listed President’s Cup for thoroughbreds, the biggest prize fund that was on offer in the seven-race card on Sunday.
Unplaced in his first local start at Meydan racecourse in Dubai three weeks ago, the Dubawi gelding came good at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club with a superb run under Jim Crowley to claim the 1,400-metre race impressively.
“He had to overcome a bad draw in his first start and today with a good draw he proved he can win,” said Crowley, who came out of the fourth gate in the 11-runner field.
Crowley has ridden the five year old previously in England and said Muntazah is an improved horse.
“He’s seems a different horse since his arrival in Dubai,” he added. “I wouldn’t know for sure where he goes next.
“That’s for the connections to decide but he can be a better horse next season.”
Crowley made smooth progress throughout the race to lead at the 200m mark and win from the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained pair Eqtiraan under Harry Bentley and Portamento with Tadhg O’Shea atop.
Muntazah’s triumph in the capital provided the UAE champion trainer Doug Watson with his fifth winner in four days.
The American now leads the trainers’ championship table with 42 winners, seven more than his closest challenger Eric Lemartinel.
In the rest of the races for Purebred Arabians, Jean de Roualle’s Rmmas under Richard Mullen took the Group 2 Liwa Oasis and Fernando Jara clinched an exciting race on Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Goshawke in the Group 2 Arabian Triple Crown.
Rmmas was completing a hattrick, following his victory in a Conditions race and Group 3 Al Ruwais. “Rmmas is improving with each race,” De Roualle said. “He has run four times this season and winning the last three. He’s done enough and now we’ll plan him for next season.
“Perhaps the Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Crown Jewel eight months from now.
“The 1,400m seems to be his maximum distance but after Group 3 and Group 2 prizes he has won, I think he deserves to have a go for a Group 1 prize. We have eight months and we’ll see how it will pan out for him.”
Mullen had to overcome a wide draw from the ninth gate to get Rmmas to the front as he prevailed in a tight finish from Bon Baiser De Faust (Crowley), with RN Torch (O’Shea) a further length behind in third.
Meanwhile, Jara on Goshawke edged out the Omani raider Riyam in the Arabian Triple Crown with Anas Al Siyabi atop, with next up being AF Al Bairaq (Silvestre De Soysa), Elyaah (O’Shea) and MH Rahal (Bentley).
“This is his biggest career prize and it was nice to win this race for the connections,” said the winning Panamanian jockey, who has ridden the chestnut colt in five of his six starts.
De Soysa won the last two prizes both for Ernst Oertel-trained runners AF Waqas and AF Asheham.
There are two meetings of the season left to be held in Abu Dhabi this season.
There is more racing next Sunday before the action concludes on March 17 with a card that includes the UAE Arabian Derby and the Abu Dhabi Championship among the final races.