Words by Paul Simmons
Photographs copyright Charlotte Dolby/Suzy Frost
Lead Picture: Zayin Zodiac
On Sunday 24 July, Newbury once again was host to the largest and most prestigious Arabian race meeting in Europe, the meeting being sponsored by the generosity of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Maktoum Shadwell Estate Company. The meeting yet again attracted strong entries from across Europe horses travelling from Holland, France, Sweden and for the first time Italy, and this year the sun came out for the 10,000 plus crowd in attendance. But of course there was strong opposition in place from inform UK trainers Phil Collington, James Owen, Bev Deutrom and Peter Hammersley. In addition to the Group races on offer the meeting also hosts three hotly contested handicap over seven furlongs, a mile and one mile five furlongs, these races show the strength of the sport in the UK with many trainers pin pointing these races all season for their charges with top handicapping trainers Delyth Thomas, Adam Newey, Bev Deutrom and Peter Hammersley, as well as Collington and Owen, all fielding strong teams.
First race – Emirates Premier Handicap Stakes 0-90 over 1 Mile
Always a competitive handicap run over the straight mile at Newbury normally with a fast finish from the field in the last furlong. Eleven horses went to post but there was plenty of support from HH Sheikh Hamdan’s lovely homebred filly Jamaayil who was backed down to 11/2. Jamaayil (Al Jakbar x Hathrah) was always handy under Dane O’Neill, and within the last furlong she produced an explosive turn of foot to leave the field spread eagled behind her to win by 12 lengths for owner/breeder HH Sheikh Hamdan and first season UK based trainer Phil Collington. It was a great start to the day for Collington who is having an exceptional first season as a trainer (having been former champion Arab jockey when riding for HH Hamdan). The Beverley Deutrom trained Suhaim (Dormane x Seceryna) ran on strongly under pressure to claim second and was in turn well clear of Steve Backwell’s Aljawaaher (Bengali D’Albret x Tamani) who returned to form with a strong run inside the final furlong to hold onto third.
Second race – Emirates NBD International Stakes over 1 Mile 2 Furlongs
A strong field of eight contested the race with Kasib and Dossar Athbah making the running, but HH Sheikh Hamdan’s homebred Foaad (Madjani x Al Marwa) trained by French based Francois Rohaut, hit the front about three fulrongs from home under a determined ride from Francois Xavier Bertras, and the 8/1 shot powered clear inside the final furlong to win by three furlongs. There was a furious fight in behind for the places with the Phil Collington trained and HH Sheikh Hamdan’s owned Sunbulla (Monsieur Al Maury x Letlato De Carrere) showing real guts and courage to stay on for second, with the Royal Cavalry of Oman’s Kasib (Munjiz x Djema Des Pins) just a neck back in third. 5/2 favourite Reda finished half a length back in fourth.
|Zachilles hits the front in the 7f Hcap on Dubai Day 2016.|
Third race – Emirates Equestrian Federation International Stakes Group 2 over 7 furlongs (for 3 yr olds only)
A staggeringly large field of 15 went to post for this valuable juvenile race with runners from Belgium, Qatar, UK and for the first time Italy. The field went a furious pace, but it was clear from halfway that the Italian raider Urge Di Gallura (Caligola x Elettra De Nulvi) was travelling supremely well under jockey Antonio Fresu and trainer Endo Botti. As they entered the last two furlongs Fresu unleashed a devastating run from 11/1 chance Urge Di Gallura who powered clear and won as he liked by three lengths, suggesting this smart young colt has a bright future, and he made the long journey over from Italy worthwhile for owner Razza Latina and trainer Botti. Shabih Alreeh and Alazeez had a tremendous battle for second, with Shabih Alreeh (Jaafer ASF x Queen Kong) just taking second for trainer Julian Smart and owner HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani. Alazeez (Madjani x Zormania) ran a superb race back in third rallying strongly in the closing stage for trainer James Owen and owner HH Sheikh Hamdan. The 9/2 favourite Khattaf Athbah was a disappointing ninth.
|Tommy, Fiona and jockey Harry Bentley Dubai Day 2016.|
Fourth race – Jebel Ali Racecourse Za’abeel International Stakes Group 1 over 6 Furlongs
Effectively the sprint championship of the meeting and the Royal Cavalry of Oman’s superb mare Al Mouhannad was bidding for an historic fourth win in this race, however, the firm ground was always going to be a big challenge for this top class performer. HH Sheikh Hamdan was represented by the French bred Radames for in form trainer Phil Collington, Radames (Kerbella x Mlaika) under an inspired ride from Dane O’Neill was always in command over this sprint trip, and quickened up inside the final furlong to hold off the sustained challenge of Kao Kat to win his first group 1 prize, in doing so giving HH Sheikh Hamdan his first group 1 victory of the meeting and Collington a memorable first group 1 victory in his first season. Kao Kat MHF (Kaolino x Here Kitty Kitty) who has become so consistent and progressive under trainer Beverley Deutrom (he won the 7 furlong handicap here off a mark of 75 last season and is now rated 101) threw down a big challenge in the final furlong but couldn’t reach the spring heeled winner. The ever game Al Mouhannad (Nizam x Al Ryme) lost nothing in defeat for the Royal Cavalry of Oman a length back in third and was perhaps not suited by the fast ground.
Fifth race – Dubai Duty Free Hatta International Stakes Group 1 over 1 Mile 2 furlongs (Mares only)
The Royal Cavalry of Oman’s superb mare Sylvine Al Maury (Munjiz x Savavit Al Maury), trained by Mme Jean-Francios Bernard, was backed was as if defeat wasn’t an option, being sent off 11/4 favourite. Swedish runner Pamills Lipse cut out a decent pace out front with Samima travelling smoothly in her slipstream, and the rest of the field settled in behind. From the two furlong pole Pamills Lipse lost her lead, as Sylvine Al Maury with Aghsaan stalking ominiously in behind, but as they hit the final furlong Jean-Bernard Eyquem unleashed a devastating run on Sylvine Al Maury who skipped clear to win going away by a comfortable six lengths. The Phil Collington trained and HH Sheikh Hamdan owned Aghsaan (Al Jakbar x Sophie Du Loup) ran a storming race in second, chasing the winner to the line and holding off a sustained challenge from Samima. Aghsaan has a big future having won the Group 3 ARO Cup over mile here in May and look like she could progress to emulate her incredible dam Sophie Du Loup (who won the Group 1 Dubai Stakes). Samima (Dahess x Oleya Du Loup) ran her usual solid back third and was clear of the field giving the Royal Cavalry of Oman another decent run.
Sixth race – Shadwell Dubai International Stakes Group 1 over 1 Mile 2 Furlongs
A decent field of seven horses went to post to contest the feature race of the day, and unsurprisingly HH Sheikh Hamdan’s homebred superstar colt Muraaqib was sent off 7/4 favourite, who has been recording a string of victories in France including being a dual Group 1 winner as a 3 yr old and then opened his account in a Group 2 on his seasonal debut. The outsider of the field Alcea Rosea cut out the running in the preliminaries with Bakir De Flauzins and Muraaqib close up in behind but getting plenty of cover. However, inside the final three furlongs Francios Xavier Bertras sent Muraaqib (Munjiz x Tashreefat) to the front and this talented and game colt seemed to saunter to the lead before quickening clear in the manner of a seriously smart horse to win going away by two lengths. Swedish runner Toutatix (Ambiorix x Belle Abbesse) ,who won the mile handicap at this meeting back in 2014, ran the race of his life to chase home the winner for owner/trainer Maria Hagman-Eriksson, he stayed on dourly in the closing stages to land a solid second. While the Italian runner Lares De Pine (Calin Du Loup x Komeira), came with a strong late run inside the final furlong to snatch third from a one paced Bakir De Flauzins.
Seventh Race – Rotana Hotels and Resorts Premier Handicap Stakes 0-105 over 1 Mile 4 furlongs
Always a strong staying handicap, a solid field of nine went to post and all were contenders with good form over staying trips. Maidaan, Kamikaze and Man of Dreams set off at a break neck pace to ensure the race was a good test of stamina, with the field all close up in behind getting a nice tow into the race. At the three furlong maker there were three in a line with Maghazi, Awzaan and Kamikaze fighting out the lead, Awzaan and Kamikaze hit the front inside the final furlong with Karar, Maghazi in behind and Naar seemingly beat. However, inside the final furlong Kieran Shoemark produced a phenomenal final burst of energy from Kamikaze who galloped to victory for UK based trainer Adam Newey and owners the Almost All Partnership. An incredible training performance as Kamikaze has been out of form this season, and proud moment for Newey who also bred Kamikaze (Kaolino x On The Wing). Naar finished with a late rattle and snatched second from Awzaan, Naar (Madjani x Magie De Faust) is a solid stayer and another quality performer for Phil Collington and owner HH Sheikh Hamdan; while Awzaan (Al Saoudi x Ester Du Paon) was sent off 4/1 favourite having won the trial race at Chepstow and stayed on well in the closing stages for trainer James Owen.
Eight Race – National Academy of Indian Payroll Handicap Stakes 0-75 over 7 Furlongs
The final race of the day is always a competitive affair and full of UK owned and trained handicappers for the smaller owners, but as always it is a fast and furious gallop up the home straight. Triple winner Vindetta was sent off the uneasy 6/1 favourite and the field jumped off at a scorching gallop with the ever game Parma T out in front in a bold bid to make all, but Zayin Zachilles was always stalking menacingly in behind under Harry Bentley; and as they entered the final furlong Bentley unleashed Zayin Zachilles (Kaolino x CS Comete) lethal turn of foot to burst home two lengths clear for victory. The win is a notable victory for owner/breeders Zayin Arabian Stud who have been racing in the UK for 18 years and trying to win at this meeting for ten years, it was also a first Dubai Day victory for trainer Peter Hammersley (who also trained the 3rd and 4th home). Parma T (Nougatin x Porta T) ran another excellent race back in second under Rob Woollard and remains a tough and consistent performer for owner/trainer Chris Bull. The ever consistent Aurora Forta (Abu Alemarat x Bay Brulee) , who was 2nd in the Group 2 juvenile race here two years ago and 4th in the conditions race last year, came with a strong late run to take third with eternal bridesmaid Unity Belle producing another solid effort in fourth.
Dubai Day 2016 Leading Performers
- Leading trainer – Phil Collington, two wins and three seconds
- Leading jockey – Dane O’Neill, two wins and two seconds
- Leading owner – HH Sheikh Hamdan, four wins
- Leading breeder – HH Sheikh Hamdan, three wins
- Leading sire – Kaolino, two wins and a second – Kamikaze, Zachilles and Kao Kat
- Leading broodmare sire – Bengali D’Albret, Muraaqib and Zachilles