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International Jockeys Claim Jockeys’ Challenge 28-20
Sunday April 2, 2017, Jinma Lake Racecourse, Chengdu, China: Sunday’s fourth running of the Chengdu Dubai International Cup presented by Longines was won by the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Skygazer under Royston Ffrench, while the meeting’s inaugural jockeys’ challenge went to the international raiders, 28-20.
Ffrench, who was claiming his second Chengdu Dubai International Cup after his victory in the same race in 2014, was delighted with his winning return to China.
“It’s fantastic to ride a winner here in Chengdu and it was a great performance from the horse,” said Ffrench. “It’s for my old boss and to be able to ride a winner for him makes it extra special.”
Ffrench’s mount in 2014 was also back in the money in Sunday’s second race, the Meydan Handicap over 2418m. A winner over 2200m at Abu Dhabi Racecourse this season, Mutual Force was partnered this time by Dutch jockey, Adrie de Vries, who with four wins across four meetings at Jinma Lake is the leading jockey of the Chengdu Dubai International Cup meeting.
The Chengdu Dubai International Cup race meeting, with a total prize purse of RMB3,750,000 was held at Jinma Lake Racecourse and represents a joint venture between Meydan Group, Sichuan Provincial Government, Chengdu Municipal Government, the Wenjiang District Government and China Guangsha Group.
It takes place in the Wenjiang District of Chengdu and features horses, jockeys and trainers from Dubai Racing Club.
The race day was attended by around 6000 spectators as well as dignitaries from Meydan Group and Chengdu’s government bodies.
For the first time the race meeting featured an international jockeys’ challenge which was played out over two races on the card, the Wenjiang Sprint and the Guangsha Handicap.
A group of five Chinese jockeys - Bate Bayier, Ma Liankai, Wang WenXun, Yu Xuewen and Chen YI, spent time riding out for Dubai Racing Club trainers in Dubai during the 2016-17 season before returning to Chengdu for the raceday.
They competed against nine jockeys who rode during the 2016-17 Dubai Racing Club season including Adrie de Vries from Holland, Pat Dobbs and Marc Monaghan from Ireland, Sam Hitchcott, Adam McLean and Royston Ffrench from the UK, South Africa’s Bernard Fayd’Herbe, Jesus Rosales from Argentina and France’s Gerald Avranche.
Twelve points were awarded for a win, six for second, four for third and two for fourth.
The opening contest on the five-race all turf card, the 1400m Wenjiang Sprint, was also the first leg of the jockeys’ challenge and was won by Chinese rider, Wenxun Wang on Damar, trained by Maria Ritchie. Damar was recording consecutive victories at Jinma Lake, having landed the same race in 2016 and was Ritchie’s first win of two on the day.
She doubled up with victory in the concluding Wenjiang-Meydan Classic over a mile courtesy of Muhtaram under Jesus Rosales.
The 1600m Guangsha Handicap was the second and concluding leg of the jockeys’ challenge and the maximum 12 points were won by Irish rider, Pat Dobbs on the Satish Seemar-trained, Sky Jockey.
HE. Engineer Mohammed Al Shehhi, Board Member, Meydan City Corporation & Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy attended the race day along with HE Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Al Shehhi said: “It has been a great pleasure for us to return to Chengdu for the fourth running of the Chengdu Dubai International Cup and renew ties with our Chinese partners. We are very thankful for the wonderful hospitality and the warm reception we have received here.
“Today we were treated to some exciting racing action at Jinma Lake Racecourse and it is satisfying to see how this significant raceday for China has flourished and developed into a world-class event. This year we are also pleased to showcase Chinese jockeys for the first time through the Chengdu Dubai International Cup Jockeys’ Challenge.
“The Chengdu Dubai International Cup is also representative of the successful and dynamic economic engagement between Dubai and the UAE, and our Chinese partners. The opportunity to grow this relationship further is exciting, and we are keen to take our trade and economic partnership to even greater heights in years to come.”