Monday, February 22, 2010

Al Ketbi and Smith in treble form at Abu Dhabi

It was a memorable evening at Abu Dhabi on Sunday or trainer Bakhit Al Ketbi and jockey Wayne Smith who combined to register a treble, highlighted by the victory of Grp Baghdad in the featured 1600m handicap.

Settled in midfield, he was taken to the front by Smith with over 200m left to run and the pair never looked likely to be caught to the delight of Smith who said: “It has been a great night and this horse seldom runs a bad race. I was always going nicely and he quickened well when I asked him.”

The opening 1000m maiden was won by Af Jamer El Ouyoon who made virtually every yard of the running under Smith to open his account at the eighth attempt. Smith said “He has plenty of speed and once we were able to get to the front I was always in control. That should do his confidence good.”

He is trained by Al Ketbi, as is Af Amthaal on whom Smith won the 1400m handicap. Still in rear turning for home, Smith switched his mount wide 400m out and they powered down the centre to deny Sharudy close home. Smith said: “The yard have been in good form all year and they have done very will with the limited ammunition at their disposal.”

The following 2200m maiden provided the perfect opportunity for Raneet to finally lose his maiden tag after 11 unsuccessful runs. Trained by Eric Lemartinel, he was partnered by Gerald Avranche who said: “He has battled well to win that and the trip has really suited him.”

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1600m maiden, was won in style by local debutant Contretemps who was having his first start for Erwan Charpy. Formerly with Godolphin, for whom he showed some decent maiden form, he was always close to the pace under Pat Smullen before quickening clear over 200m out. Charpy said: “We thought he would go close as he has been working well and his UK form was good.”

Rs Sanjar won the 2200m conditions race for trainer Samir Hawaa and was produced to lead close home by Safwan Al Reffal who said: “It was a decent little race and he deserved a win after some good recent efforts in defeat.”

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