Racing at Meydan – November 21, 2019 [All Races]
ES AJEEB DEFENDS, GEORGE VILLIERS GRINDS, AL MODAYAR IMPRESSES & LADY PARMA BEATS THE BOYS ON THRILLING THURSDAY.
DUBAI (November 21, 2019)—Racing at Meydan on Thursday kicked off with the first Purebred Arabian contest at the course this season, the 1400m Group 2 Bani Yas presented by Longines Hydroconquest. As it was last year, it was won in smart style by Sheikh Abdulla bin Majed Al Qassem’s Ibrahim Aseeli-trained ES Ajeeb, who was never headed under regular pilot Sam Hitchcott. Well away, the pair were soon able to get across to the rail and clear at halfway never looked likely to be caught although, understandably, tiring in the final 150m. Aatebat Al Khalediah closed determinedly to come up just short, while slow-starting Mawahib, second 12 months ago by a nose in this race, ran on impressively for third. The 5-year-old homebred has now won eight of his 12 starts, seven times on dirt and became the third dual winner of the contest. His sire, Big Easy, also won in 2004.
The featured Thoroughbred contest, the Longines Master Collection over 1600m, was dominated by trainer Satish Seemar, who finished one-two with Tadhg O’Shea-ridden George Villiers chasing down Bochart and apprentice Sean Kirrane on the wire. Nearer last than first leaving the back straight, the winner, who finished plastered in kickback, started to make progress between horses before digging deeply for his jockey to lead where it mattered. The 4-year-old son of Dubawi has now won four times, twice at Meydan for owner Mohd Khalifa Al Basti after having raced in Britain for John Gosden. The effort earned the half-brother to Grade 1 winner Laughing and Hong Long legend Viva Pataca a Dubai World Cup Carnival-worthy 92 rating.
Seemar then supplied another one-two finish in the Longines DolceVita, a 1200m handicap where Connor Beasley and filly Lady Parma bulled their way through the boys to take command within the 200m and held off yard-mate Way of Wisdom and jockey Richard Mullen. A 3-year-old Exchange Rate filly, the winner is owned by the Parmar Family and had shed her maiden tag on her previous and sixth career start over 1200m at Jebel Ali a few weeks prior. Her Meydan performances last season included a third in the UAE 1000 Guineas (Listed). With Way of Wisdom’s second, Seemar had saddled the runner-up in the first five Thoroughbred races.
A 1400m maiden restricted to 2-year-old colts and geldings, the Longines Conquest V H P, was won in determined fashion by Al Modayar for jockey Fernado Jara and trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. Prominent throughout, he turned back a strong bid from Seemar-trained Commanding and earned an 84 rating in the process. A son of freshman Coolmore America stud Competitive Edge, the good-looking dark bay improved upon his debut fourth astern Barack Beach over 1200m on opening night (Oct. 24).
Owned by H and B, he was purchased most recently for $64,560 at Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale in April by former UAE Champion Jockey Ted Durcan and is a half-brother to a winner in Panama, also the birthplace of Jara.
It looked most unlikely at hallway when Galaxy Road was last in the1200m maiden, the Longines Conquest Classic, but he flew home in the final 300m to snatch victory from Underwriter. In the end, Galaxy Road and Antonio Fresu eased up at the wire, appearing much the best for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Galaxy Racing. The 3-year-old Elusive Quality colt was having just his fifth career start and third this season.
Fresu said: “We missed the break, but I was happy to be patient and take my time, because they were going very fast in front and he picked up in the straight when those in front were tiring.”
Having shot out of the starting stalls under Xavier Ziani, Gundogdu seemed to be allowed an uncontested lead in the 1900m handicap, the Longines Record Collection, before scampering clear at the top of the straight. Eventual third and market favourite Tradesman was one who tried to go after him, but he was denied second close home by Cachao, with Quartier Francais running on from far back to claim fourth. Owned by Hamad Rashed bin Ghadayer and in the care of Salem bin Ghadayer, the 4-year-old gelding was winning for a third time.
The finale, a 1400m handicap, the Longines La Grande Classique, was won in workmanlike style by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti’s Zaajer, who held off a game and persistent Mayaadeen. Ridden by Fernando Jara, the victory gave trainer Al Rayhi his second of the night—an evening in which he also had a second in the G2 Bani Yas.
“It was a good night,” Jara said. “This horse he ran a really big race last time and it seemed like he was getting better. He was travelling wide and just keeps going after a bad draw. Hopefully he just keeps improving. At this point, we’ll have to wait and see.”