Friday, March 23, 2012
Al Raihe cements champion trainer status
Ali Rashid Al Raihe, who has successfully defended his title as UAE Champion Trainer, continued his great run of form with a first and last race double at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon.
The victory of Glen Nevis in the opening 1950m handicap, under stable jockey Royston Ffrench, was a remarkable seventh straight winner in Thoroughbred races for the trainer who won the last five races at Meydan last Saturday and the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday.
He than supplied the 1-2-3 in the concluding 1200m conditions race with Tadhg O'Shea in the saddle on winner Mujaazef who ran on too strongly for stable companions Murbeh and Green Effort.
The trainer said: "It has been a brilliant season from the start and the horses have continued to run well throughout. The five winners at Meydan last Saturday was a remarkable achievement and then to win at Abu Dhabi and the first here is just amazing but testament to all the hard work the whole team put in."
O'Shea was completing his own double having also won a second 1950m handicap on Jutland for Doug Watson and his brace leaves him on 37 winners for the season, five more than Ffrench. With only nine races left in the UAE season, at the Dubai World Cup meeting next Saturday, he looks certain to regain Champion Jockey status from Wayne Smith.
O'Shea said: "Winning the last two races today was a great way to finish the final Jebel Ali meeting of the season and it has been a good campaign from the start. I have been lucky to get on some good horses throughout, which makes the job a lot easier!"
The afternoon's official feature was a 1400m handicap, sponsored by Shadwell, the UK arm of the breeding operation of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
It was won by Spirit Of Battle, trained by Abdulla bin Huzaim and ridden by Jesus Rosales who said: "We were hopeful of a good run as he was weighted to go very close after his run here six weeks ago when narrowly beaten over course and distance."
Musabah Al Muhairi saddled the other two winners on the card with stable jockey Wayne Smith aboard Alnashmy who landed the 1400m handicap with Silvestre De Sousa performing the steering on Straight Talk in a maiden over 1600m.
Al Muhairi said: "That is a good way to finish the season here and at Jebel Ali where we have had a lot of luck this year, winning all three of their Listed races."
Richard Hills, retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan and set to retire after next week's Dubai World Cup meeting, was the recipient of a special presentation from the racecourse with the whole weighing room and all the trainers joining him in the paddock.
Hills received a great ovation from a large crowd and said: "I would just like to thank everybody for all their well wishes and kind messages since the announcement and of course everybody who has made the last 20 years so enjoyable for me.
"It has been a real privilege to ride for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan and UAE racing has been a major part of my time wearing these famous silks. It is time to move on though."
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