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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 January 2021

Soft Whisper wins to give Saeed bin Suroor food for thought for the UAE 1000 Guineas

The homebred Dubawi filly under Pat Cosgrave was impressive on her dirt debut at Meydan Racecourse

Patrick Cosgrave guides Soft Whisper home in first place to win the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan. Antonie Robertson / The National
Patrick Cosgrave guides Soft Whisper home in first place to win the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan. Antonie Robertson / The National

The Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor was left with plenty of options for the UAE 1000 Guineas after Soft Whisper led the first three home in the Guineas Trial on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday.

The homebred Dubawi filly under Pat Cosgrave was impressive on her dirt debut at Meydan Racecourse.

She made her challenge on the home stretch to win from Last Sunset (Hector Crouch) and Final Thought (Harry Bentley) by two-and-a-half lengths and three-and-a-quarter lengths respectively.

It completed a hat-trick of wins for after victories at Salisbury and Pontefract in the UK.

Bin Suroor has won the 1000 Guineas 11 times and will fancy his chances of stretching that record further in two weeks' time.

Cosgrave believes she will improve for her next start over the extended 1,600-metre distance and the surface.

“I wanted her to be out of the race rather than in the race, and it worked out nicely,” said winning jockey Cosgrave.

“She had a little bit of sand in her face but it didn’t cause any harm. She had a nice blow tonight and should improve plenty for the run.”

Veteran Emirati trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe celebrated 450 winners in the UAE with a treble on the night, all three in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.

He won the second race with Taamol and completed the double 35 minutes later with Eqtiraan, both under stable jockey Connor Beasley, before Sandro Paiva rounded off the night's racing by taking the concluding handicap on board Etisalat.

“I had in the back of my mind that there’ll be a lot of pace in the race,” Beasley said of his first winner.

“I had a good gate draw and I just wanted the leaders up in the early part of the race to get into a good position. I knew I probably had to kick off when they go hard, and once I got into top flight he went about doing his job very nicely.”

Eqtiraan made all the running to come home a comfortable winner from Cape Cavalli and Lucius Tiberius by four lengths and a head respectively.

Jean-Claude Pecout's first victory in UAE was one to remember as the Frenchman took the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 for the Purebred Arabians with Brraq in the silks of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed’s Yas Racing.

Drawn wide in Gate 13 in the 14-runner field Brraq’s Dutch rider Adrie de Vries kept wide on the outside but improving all the time throughout the 1,600-metre trip.

He hit the front in the final 100m to win from the Omani raider Fettah Du Loup and the National Day Cup winner AF Alwajel by three-quarters of a length and three-and-a-half lengths respectively.

“I was told he was a very good horse and very happy to have a first winner in the UAE,” Pecout said.

Jean de Roualle, who trained Brraq for more than two years and won two races from eight starts, said it was a brave decision to run him in a Group 1 race.

“He’s not an easy horse to train, so all credit to Jean-Claude because I wouldn’t have run him in this race,” De Roualle, who shares the training track with Pecout at the Al Ain Equestrian Club, said.

Updated: January 7, 2021 09:47 PM

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