Monday, February 09, 2009

Watson and Hills grab HH The President’s Cup

Sunday’s tenth meeting of the season at Abu Dhabi, kindly sponsored by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, featured the one million dirhams HH The President’s Cup which was won in a close finish by the Doug Watson-trained Nirwan.

Both Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan were present to witness their Abu Alemarat and Shadiyda finish second and third respectively but it was Nirwan and Richard Hills who gained the day close home in the 2200m feature.

Owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, seven-year-old Nirwan, sporting a first time visor was registering a third career win to the delight of his trainer who said:

“Richard has timed that perfectly. I was always quite hopeful as he looked to be going well and I was hoping that the leaders would come back to him which they did.

Watson was completing a double after Wayne Rooney helped he and Fernando Jara stretch their leads in the trainer and jockey championships respectively when winning a 1600m handicap.

Jara was never far off the pace on the nine-year-old who was winning for the 11th time and Jara explained: “He has travelled very strongly and picked up nicely when I asked him.”

Rod Simpson, whose Abu Alemarat was a close second in the feature, gained some compensation when Fryvolous denied top-weight in the Group 3 Al Ruwais over the minimum 1000m.

Simpson’s stable star, winner of the 1600m National Day Cup Group 1 contest found his stride close home to prevail.

Simpson explained: “He is a class performer and we thought we could get away with the drop in trip as he has a lot of natural speed.”

The opening 1600m conditions race was won by Habaib representing the trainer/jockey combination of Eric Lemartinel and Gerald Avranche.

Avranche explained: “They went fast which has a big help.”

The following 1600m conditions race, the Emirates Breeders’ Cup, was won by Ahmadani Musafer for trainer Musabah Al Muhairi with William Buick in the saddle.

Buick said: “He has done that well and we were always going to hold the challenge of the runner-up.”

The concluding 2200m handicap was won by Gillian Duffield-trained Waadi under Richard Hills, making it a double for the jockey and Sheikh Hamdan.

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