Ukrainian, centre, and jockey Royston Ffrench delivered win No 250 for trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe on Thursday night at Meydan Racecourse. Lee Hoagland / The National
Ukrainian, centre, and jockey Royston Ffrench delivered win No 250 for trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe on Thursday night at Meydan Racecourse. Lee Hoagland / The National

Trainer Musabah Al Muhairi fast out of gates



DUBAI // The trainer Musabah Al Muhairi made a unforgettable start to the new Meydan season, saddling the first winner on Thursday night and then following up in the next three races.

And if that were not enough, he also saddled the first two finishers on three occasions.

Comicality made his first racecourse appearance a winning one when running out the easy winner of the opening 1,400-metre maiden with Dane O’Neill in the saddle. The pair collared stablemate Muhtaram to give the trainer his first 1-2.

“He is a nice big horse,” O’Neill said, “and should improve with that experience under his belt.”

The trainer wasted no time completing a double with the stable jockey Wayne Smith, this time aboard Hazaz, who won the following 1,400m handicap. Smith failed to ride a Meydan winner last season and said: “It is nice to get a winner here after a frustrating Meydan campaign last time ... Hazaz ran there last week and has clearly benefitted from that outing.”

Smith was aboard the runner-up Innocuous, who chased home stable companion Chasing Halos in the 1,200m handicap to provide Al Muhairi his second 1-2 on the evening.

Pat Dobbs was aboard the winner and said: “They are the spare rides we like and Musabah has his horses in great form early in this season. This fellow travelled really strongly before quickening in great style. It was impressive.”

Smith was back in the winner’s enclosure again after the 1,600m handicap, having denied stable companion Mashaaref on the bottom weight Ramonti Flash – a remarkable third 1-2 for Al Muhairi in four races.

Smith said: “We expected a few to run well, but it has been an amazing evening. That was a nice surprise as I really did not think I could win that race, but the horses are in great form.

“We arrived thinking, as a yard, we had a couple of good chances, but we could not have dreamed of this.”

With no runner in the last race, Al Muhairi was out of luck only in the 2,000m handicap, in which Ukrainian provided his trainer, Ali Rashid Al Raihe, with a landmark 250th UAE winner. Ridden by the stable jockey Royston Ffrench, Ukrainian moved to the front close to home, to the delight of his trainer.

“We thought he would run well, but we only just managed to get there,” Ffrench said. “That last 100m was just enough and you have to say ‘well done’ to the boss and whole team on the 250 winners.”

The final race, a 1,900m handicap, went the way of El Mansour – representing the combination of Tadhg O’Shea and Ernst Oertel, UAE champion jockey and trainer, respectively.

Oertel is better known for his Purebred Arabians but does well with the few thoroughbreds he has in his care.

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