Another Big Abu Dhabi Prize For RB Burn

Victorious in the world’s most valuable Purebred Arabian contest, the €1.2million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown over 1600m in November, RB Burn registered a smooth success in Sunday’s 1400m Group 1 Liwa Oasis at Abu Dhabi.

In doing so, he recorded his second Group 1 victory of the season in the capital for his owner, Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, trainer Eric Lemartinel and jockey Gerald Avranche.

Settled well off the early pace set by his stable companion, RB Torch under Royston Ffrench, he eased into contention as the leaders swung into the straight when Ain Jaloot took up the running.

He was challenged by AF Maqayes and was able to thwart his determined challenge but had no answer to RB Burn who hit the front inside the final 200m to win as expected.

“I was determined to find cover on him early on as he can be keen,” said Avranche. “Once he settled he travelled nicely so I was happy tracking AF Maqayes and he quickened nicely when I asked.”

Lemartinel added: “He will improve for that and will go to the Kahayla Classic in three weeks at Meydan Racecourse on Dubai World Cup day.”

Owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Al Zahir made his local debut a winning one, proving far too good for eight opponents in the main support race, the 2200m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R2, restricted to four-year-olds.

A winner once from just four starts in France, he is now with Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and was ridden confidently by the owner’s retained jockey, Jim Crowley.

Settled in midfield, the pair made smooth progress approaching the home turn before committing for home at the top of the straight.

They soon had matters under control and he looks an interesting new recruit to the local scene.

“He has been going nicely at home so we were pretty hopeful,” said Crowley. “I know Sheikh Hamdan thinks a lot of him and he quickened nicely when I asked him. Hopefully he is a nice horse for next season.”

The meeting opened with a 1400m maiden and Richard Mullen took the Ernst Oertel-trained AF Makerah straight to the front and very few of the other 15 were ever able to get competitive.

The main exception was Al Huda who, under Tadhg O’Shea, threw down a challenge during the straight but was unable to get past.

It was a case of third time lucky for the winner who had finished second on both her previous outings.

“She is a filly we like and it is nice to see her win after two good efforts in defeat,” said Oertel. “She has progressed with each run and will have a rest now with next season in mind.”

That winner carries the colours of Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda as does AF Hakeem who looked likely to complete a rapid double for owner and trainer in the following 1600m handicap.

He and Jesus Rosales attempted to make all and led virtually the whole way, only to be headed right on the line by Munaaf, delivered with a perfectly timed challenge by Harry Bentley for trainer, Ahmed Al Mehairbi.

“He is a horse with plenty of ability who is a good performer at this level,” said Bentley. “His three previous runs this season have been at Al Ain on the dirt and the return to turf has suited him.

“He stays further so I knew he would stay on and he kept finding for me in the closing stages.”

Al Nabooda did complete a double with the notable success of AF Ssayes in a 1000m handicap. He was never headed under Fernando Jara, providing trainer Maria Ritchie with her first winner.

“Obviously I am delighted to get off the mark,” said Ritchie. “We were actually pretty confident as he has plenty of pace and Fernando gave him a great ride.

“There is one more race for him this season for which he needs to get an invitation but he should do as this was his second win this year.”

The only Thoroughbred contest was the finale, a 1600m handicap for which a full field of 16 went to post and it was the turn of Mullen to complete a double.

Partnering Taaj for his main employer, Satish Seemar, Mullen asked his mount to challenge early in the straight and they hit the front about 200m out.

Several dangers emerged but Mullen’s mount clung on grimly, repeating his course and distance victory of four weeks ago on his most recent start.

“Abu Dhabi has been lucky for me this season,” said Mullen. “Obviously it is great to ride winners for my main supporters, Satish and Ernst and hopefully we will get a few more at the last two meetings.”