RACING at Meydan on Sunday was a non-Carnival meeting, and the features were a pair of turf handicaps.

The first, over 10 furlongs, was won by Pat Dobbs aboard Al Nayyir. The winner is a Godolphin-bred five-year-old by Dubawi, trained by Doug Watson for Elbashir Salem Elhrari.

This was a third win of the season for the gelding. Dobbs said: “He is improving and hopefully can continue to do so in a better grade.”

Earlier, a mile turf maiden developed into a scrap between Made In Dubai and Sari Dubai, with the latter, racing on grass for the first time, out-battling his rival, responding gallantly to the urgings of Dobbs in the colours of Saeed Sultan Al Rahoomi for Watson. Runner-up in three of his six previous starts, the four-year-old Creative Course colt was not winning out of turn.

Watson and Dobbs were celebrating a treble after a nine and a half furlong dirt handicap, the Lynch Bages-bred Qareb, a son of Speightstown, landing the spoils for Naser Askar after a fierce tussle with Grand Dubai.

Sharing top billing, the seven-furlong turf handicap was won by Godolphin’s only runner on the card, Open Mind, a four-year-old Cable Bay gelding confidently ridden by Danny Tudhope for Saeed bin Suroor. It was a first turf success for the Highclere Stud-bred, at the fifth attempt, with both of his previous career victories registered on the Chelmsford all-weather.

The meeting kicked off with the sole purebred Arabian contest on the card, a conditions race over 1600m, which proved a memorable occasion for apprentice Connor Planas who partnered his first UAE winner in the shape of RB Seqondtonone for Helal Alalawi and Byerley Racing.

A six-furlong dirt handicap proved a straightforward assignment for Magic Petition, a three-year-old Good Magic colt and a maiden after three starts, trained by Ahmed bin Harmash for Mohammed Ahmad Ali Al Subousi.

The concluding five-furlong turf handicap was dominated by the two Bhupat Seemar runners, Pat Cosgrave and the Irish-bred Exceed And Excel gelding Leading Spirit staying on too strongly for Ranaan, the mount of Tadhg O’Shea.

Daramethos eases to Jebel Ali feature win

THE first of the season’s three Jebel Ali feature races, the near-10 furlong Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, was the highlight on Saturday’s afternoon’s card on dirt.

Just five runners faced the starter, including Lost Eden who was seeking to become the third dual winner of the race, but he was forced to settle for second behind the easy winner Daramethos, ridden with supreme confidence by Antonio Fresu.

The rider cruised into contention on the five-year-old Godolphin-bred son of Sea The Stars entering the final two furlongs, and pulled clear a furlong out in the colours of Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi. Fresu said of the Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained winner: “From about two out I was always confident I was going to get there.”

Only six went to post for a six-furlong handicap, in which Tadhg O’Shea was always oozing confidence aboard Naser Askar’s local debutant, the Irish-bred My Dubawi. The result was in no doubt after the Bhupat Seemar-trained four-year-old hit the front entering the final furlong.

A Dubawi gelding, the winner was recording a fourth career success, adding to a trio of victories in Britain for Saeed Suhail and Mark and Charlie Johnston. O’Shea said: “He had been working very well and he could be a Jebel Ali Sprint horse.” The trainer and jockey celebrated a double after Three Chimneys Farm’s Green Jacket, a four-year-old homebred Curlin colt, displayed great resolve to land a maiden over nine furlongs.

Bernardo Pinheiro and Nopoli proved far too good for seven rivals in a mile three-year-old maiden. The Stowell Hill Stud-bred Lope Da Vega colt was winning at just the second time of asking for Ismail Mohammed who owns and trains him. Thirty minutes later the trainer was celebrating a double, this time combining with Fernando Jara in a mile handicap aboard Saeed Al Tayer’s Justice Protecol. The four-year-old Time Test colt, bred at Worksop Manor Stud, has now won three times.

Ray Dawson won the opening race for purebred Arabians, and the concluding nine-furlong handicap also went to the rider, combining with Ahmad bin Harmasj in the colours of the trainer’s son Hamdan aboard the eight-year-old Dubawi gelding Zucchini.

Western Writer starts to payback

RACING at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Thursday was principally for purebred Arabians, but there was a significant winner of the sole race for thoroughbreds.

Riders Antonio Fresu and Irishman Tadhg O’Shea completed doubles. The seven-furlong Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic, which holds prestige status, was turned into a procession by Muram under Tadhg O’Shea. The only thoroughbred race on the card was the concluding mile handicap, and it provided O’Shea with his double.

He partnered Western Winter to victory for Bhupat Seemar and Athbah Racing, the latter more commonly associated with purebred Arabians but starting to diversify.

This was a victory on his UAE debut for the former Godolphin homebred Western Writer, foaled in Ireland and a son of Shamardal. Formerly in the care of Charlie Appleby, Western Writer sold for AED1.8 million (about €450,000) last September to top the Racing In Dubai Sale.

Twice a winner in England, he is one of three winners, the first three foals, of Yodelling, a dual winner who ran fourth in the Listed UAE 1000 Guineas a decade ago.