A 1950m rated conditions stakes was the official feature at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon and, for the vast majority of the race, Tadhg O’Shea and Resonant appeared to have matters under control for Doug Watson.
However, passing the 200m pole, Resonant, a 1600m course winner four weeks ago, started to tire and, despite his jockey’s urgings and his own determined attitude, was unable to withstand the late challenge of Brabbham.
Partnered by Connor Beasley for Ahmad bin Harmash, Brabbham was a smooth winner over course and distance in January, in a handicap and has now won half of his four starts under these conditions, finishing second and third on the other two occasions.
This was arguably a career best with a long way back to the third and other four runners in a race only seven finally went to post after two non-runners were announced, both stable companions of Resonant.
A delighted Beasley said: “I only sat on him for the first time at home the other day but the form book shows he likes it here at Jebel Ali.
“I was niggling away for a long time but once he hit that steep hill he has just galloped on resolutely. They went quick for the distance which has really helped him as he just stays on at his own pace.”
He may have been denied in the feature when Resonant was caught but owner Mohd Khalifa Al Basti was still able to celebrate a treble.
There may have only been eight runners in the opening 1000m handicap but that did not prevent it from producing a thrilling finish with Satish Seemar duo Ejbaar and Hammurabi flashing past the post together along with Raafid in a three way battle.
It was Richard Mullen and Al Basti’s Ejbaar who prevailed, by a short-head with the same distance back to Raafid.
“It was a very good race and an exciting one. Both our horses have run very well as we hoped they would,” said assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar.
“Ejbaar had a big weight to carry so has done particularly well to hold off Hammurabi as he really had to battle and it is a good result for the whole team.”
Mullen added: “This horse lost his chance with a slow start at Meydan on his first run this season and we knew he was better than that.
“The drop back to 1000m was a bit of a concern today as this was a better race than the one he won over course and distance in January but it has worked out well.”
Thirteen contested the 1600m handicap but, pretty much from the outset, only one mattered with Denzille Lane never headed under Pat Dobbs riding for his main employer Champion Trainer Doug Watson and in the Al Basti silks.
Second, over 1200m, at the first Jebel Ali meeting four weeks ago, the winner was then a bit disappointing a fortnight later when only sixth over 1400m.
Sporting blinkers for the first time on this, his third Jebel Ali visit of the campaign, he was clear at halfway and never looked likely to be challenged.
“We were keen to try him from the front and Pat has done a great job to get across from his high draw,” said Watson, greeting his 12th winner of the campaign.
“We put the headgear on him today and that seemed to help him concentrate. That is three runs this season so he will probably have a rest now.”
The trainer was again lauding his jockey after the 1400m maiden in which they and Al Basti combined with Igloo, soon in front and never headed.
Having just his fourth career start, the three-year-old was well beaten at Meydan last week but looked a totally different proposition here, proving far too good for the remaining 11.
“We had a nice low draw and they were able to get onto that rail so full credit to Pat for that. He works like a very good horse but this is the first time he has transferred that ability to the track.
“Hopefully he is improving with only four runs to his name and, as he learns to relax, he should improve and win again.”
The 1400m handicap produced a ‘battle royale’ in the final stages after Pat Cosgrave drove Logistics to lead 400m from home and they soon had the majority of their 15 rivals chasing their shadow.
The notable exception was Muharrib who made smooth progress under Adrie de Vries and hit the front inside the final 100m, only to be headed themselves by a rallying Logistics who was extending his narrow advantage passing the line.
It was a 12th winner of the season both for Cosgrave and trainer Helal Al Alawi who said: “Our horses have, on the whole, been running well and long may it continue.
“In Pat we have a very good jockey who suits our style and horses; he and I thought Logistics had a chance today. Thankfully, we were correct!”
The finale, in theory the main support race, was a 1200m handicap and produced the closest finish of the day, despite the early narrow margins in races one and four.
Local debutant Yalta made a determined effort from the front with Royston Ffrench in the saddle for Salem bin Ghadayer and the pair skipped clear shortly after halfway.
It was soon apparent few were going to threaten their advantage with the majority of their ten opponents clearly in trouble.
It was left to Dane O’Neill and Kasb, a 1000m course winner a month ago, to throw down a late challenge with the pair edging closer as the line approached.
At the winning post there was nothing between them with the judge’s verdict, by a nose, going in favour of Kasb, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“It was close,” said O’Neill. “I hoped we had our head in front on the line but was not certain so it was a relief when the result was announced.
“This horse is tough, genuine and versatile; I won on him over 1400m on turf in England and this uphill finish here really suits him.
“He missed all last season but has come back in great form and, hopefully, he is on the upgrade.”