Torch lights up Meydan feature for Lemartinel and Watson saddles a four-timer
The Purebred Arabians took centre stage at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday evening and the 1400m Group 2 Bani Yas Sponsored By Friday was won in style by RB Torch who was probably never headed under Tadhg O’Shea.
Trained at Al Asayl by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, RB Torch had the perfect draw, in stall one, for positive tactics and O’Shea wasted no time securing both the rail and the lead.
They committed for home leaving the home turn and were never going to be caught.
Winning the race for the first time, Lemartinel said: “He ran at Abu Dhabi over a month ago and we gave him a nice break before this race which has helped.
“Nobody else wanted to go out in front but we were more than happy to because it suits him to race like that.
“Tadhg has given him a very good ride as he let him have a breather on the home turn before committing for home.
“He has that done that very well so I imagine we will look at the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 with him in five weeks time back here at Meydan.”
O’Shea, also registering a first Bani Yas victory, added: “Everything went smoothly today and drawn one was a real bonus for him. He was ponied to the start which helped him relax and on a good day, he is very talented as we saw this evening.
“I imagine the Al Asayl team will freshen him up now and the 1600m of the Maktoum Challenge will really suit him.”
The opening 1400m juvenile fillies’ maiden, the Property Weekly, was turned into a procession by debutante Rayya who stormed clear under Pat Dobbs, stable jockey to winning trainer, Doug Watson.
Content to track the early leader, Follow The Feeling, Dobbs always looked confident and let the filly, a daughter of Tiz Wonderful, stride to the front just after halfway.
The race was over in a matter of strides, the pair coming home almost ten lengths clear, to the delight of Watson who said: “She is a nice filly who has always shown us plenty at home but you just never know how they will go until you get them to the races, especially here, under the lights.
“That was certainly impressive and she was very professional throughout, in the paddock, on the way to the start and in the race.
“She is bred to get further and, hopefully, can go on to bigger and better things.”
There was only ever one leader in the first 1400m handicap, the InsideOut, with Dane O’Neill another jockey to take full advantage of a low draw, this time on Moosir who, in a virtual carbon copy of his 1200m victory a fortnight ago, was never headed.
In doing so, he completed a double for Champion Trainer, Watson, who also saddled the runner-up, Say No More and said: “That 1200m win last time did the horse’s confidence a lot of good and it was a good win tonight. The draw has obviously helped but he has done everything right under a good ride from Dane.
“Say No More has also run a really big race and I would like to think he can win one soon, probably stepped up to 1600m.
The Gulf News, a good quality 1600m handicap, was another repeat winner for Watson, this time with Galvanized who followed up his course and distance victory of four weeks ago in good style.
Ridden on that occasion by Fernando Jara, Sam Hitchcott was in the saddle this time when the pair made smooth progress from midfield to lead at the top of the straight, sweeping past Ennobled Friend who led only for about 50m having passed early leader Nathr, a stable companion of the winner.
Hitchcott’s mount was soon clear and always holding Direct Message who tried valiantly, but fruitlessly, to throw down a meaningful challenge in the final 300m.
“I was always going well and happy with the way the race panned out,” said Hitchcott. “He took me there going strongly before quickening nicely and finding plenty.
“Doug and his team have the horses in great form and this fellow is progressing nicely; hopefully there is more to come from him as that was only his fifth start for us.”
The Xpress, a 1200m maiden, was won in thrilling fashion by Chess Master who made relentless progress throughout the straight to lead close home under Connor Beasley, riding for his main employer, Ahmad bin Harmash.
Racing well off the early speed, Beasley elected to take his time, racing quite wide, before the pair ran on strongly to snatch what had appeared an unlikely victory, heading General Line, himself in front only briefly, inside the final 50m.
It was a fifth career outing and third locally, all this season, for the winner.
“I was pretty confident coming here this evening as he has been working well,” said Beasley, partnering his sixth winner in this his debut UAE season. “He shows plenty of speed at home but, on that evidence, is going to be better over 1400m or even further.
“The season has gone really well so far and I hope it can continue to do so.”
There was a gutsy winning performance in a second 1400m handicap, the Tabloid, in which Secret Ambition hit the front halfway up the straight before running on gamely to hold off the challenge of Power Crazy.
Mister Parma, like the winner, ran on strongly for third with stable jockey, Richard Mullen aboard him and Pat Cosgrave on the winner.
Both are trained by Satish Seemar and Cosgrave said: “We were drawn wide but I was able to get on the heels of the leaders and was always going well enough. Once in front he has really battled on well and is a tough horse.
“It has been a great start to the season and I have been very lucky to be given good chances by top trainers.”
Cosgrave was alluding to the fact it was his 14th winner of the season.
The gulfnews.com, a 2000m handicap, concluded events and was won easily by Active Spirit handing Pat Dobbs a double for the night and handler Doug Watson a four-timer. Watson had a one-two three in the race and stands at 17 wins this season, five ahead of Helal Al Alawi, while Dobbs is now just two behind Cosgrave who is top of the jockey’s table.
The entire meeting was sponsored by Gulf News, one of the longest serving Meydan Pillar Partners; the newspaper has supported horse racing since the inception of racing under rules in the UAE and was one of the sponsors of the first Dubai World Cup meeting in 1996.
RB Torch Under Tadhg O'Shea wins the feature Bani Yas Group 2 race Purebed Arabian race for trainer Eric Lemartinel, picture DRC and Andrew Watkins