Monday, March 08, 2010

El Rigoletto finds the oasis

Sunday's Abu Dhabi card was highlighted by the Group 1 Liwa Oasis, a 1400m contest which produced a thrilling finish between El Rigoletto and Quaolina, both owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

However, it was El Rigoletto, trained by Gill Duffield and ridden by Tadhg O'Shea in the second colours who prevailed from last year's winner, Quaolina, under Richard Hills.‬‬‪‪

O'Shea said: "Everything worked out perfectly and the gap opened exactly when I needed it. When the other horse came to us he has pulled out a bit more and battled all the way to the line. It has been a good night."‬‬‪‪

O'Shea was completing a double having been in the saddle on the Jaci Wickham-trained Waneessah W'RSan who ran out the comfortable winner of the 1600m conditions race.

It was a deserved success for the mare who was actually winning for the first time but has plenty of placed efforts to her name.

O'Shea explained: "She deserved a change of luck after some great runs in defeat. She is very consistent and it is nice she has managed to win one."‬‬‪‪

The Emirates Colts' Classic, a 1600m Prestige race for locally-bred 4yo colts and geldings, was won by Naseem Al Reef who was losing his maiden tag at the fifth attempt.

Trained by Eric Lemartinel, he was ridden by Ted Durcan who said: "He has run on very strongly in the straight and won nicely. He had some decent form coming into the race and deserved to open his account."‬‬‪‪

The only Thoroughbred race on the card was the concluding 1600m conditions race and it was a great result for trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe who saddled a 1-2-3 with stable jockey Royston Ffrence picking the right one in Five Cents.

Ffrench said: "We have had an amazing season and the horses continue to run well. This fellow ran very well last time when we knew he would need the run so we were very hopeful coming here tonight."‬‬‪‪

The opening 2200m handicap was won by Rs Sanjar who was repeating his course and distance victory of a fortnight previously.

Safwan Al Reffai was again in the saddle on the Samir Hawaa-trained winner and the jockey said: 'This is a favourite horse of mine and he always runs well. It is nice to get a second win on him."‬‬‪‪ ‬‬‪‪

Wayne Smith and Bakhit Al Ketbi have forged a formidable partnership in recent weeks and combined with Taj Al Reef to win the 1600m maiden.

Having only his second start, he clearly has plenty to learn about the game as he ran very green but impressed Smith who said: "He is still a big baby but has done that well enough. It was probably not a great race but he will improve with experience."‬‬‪‪ ‬‬‪‪

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