By Duane Fonseca
Doug Watson’s Al Mahbooba added the Final Leg of the Al Ain Marathon to her victories in the first two rounds to complete the series’ triple crown and keep her American trainer only just ahead in the UAE Trainers’ Championship race.
The 7yo Madjani mare, carrying Dobbs, who partnered her to victory in the second leg over 4100m a month back, took in a three fourths of a length win ahead of Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s errant Loolwa, who put a country mile between herself and the rest of the field before losing her way and then regaining her composure to make the finish an exciting one.
Mahbooba was ridden mostly towards the rear by Dobbs, who asked her to go before turning for home the last time. The pair went well with the British import battling to take the lead off Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Jesus Rosales piloted Guvnor, who had snatched the initiative from Loolwa. The duel with Guvnor, however, seemed to have tired Al Mahbooba and she merely laboured on to win with Loolwa, eating a lot of ground very quickly to close in rapidly and reduce the deficit to three fourths of a length.
Racing at Al Ain got underway with Faaris winning the card-opening Shabyat Al Rawdah 2000m maiden for Majed Al Jahoori and Bernardo Pinheiro. Making his fifth start, the 4yo Mahabb colt dominated the field, kicking clear in the straight to finish with 11 and a half lengths to spare from AF Estatha, an Ernst Oertel trainee driven by apprentice Marcelino Rodrigues.
Jaber Bittar’s Najih brought up a consecutive victory as sire for Mahabb, turning up as the best conditioned among the locally bred names contesting the Falaj Hazza 1800m maiden field, where the 4yo found more under jockey Ray Dawson to run home a sweet two and a three quarter length winner ahead of Farah Al Wathba connected to Al Jahoori and Pinheiro. Grattis made it two in two for Bittar, winning the Aud Al Touba maiden for fillies and mares over 1800m with a late charge under jockey Abdul Aziz Al Balushi to snatch victory on the line from Ernst Oertel’s AF Tasha’alal the ride of Pinheiro.
Dawson too celebrated scoring twice when landing the subsequent Sieh bin Ammar 1800m handicap, which he nicked aboard Ibrahim Al Hadhrami’s Minwer, who found his best late on, hitting top gear in the final furlong and kicking clear to win by two and a half lengths from Al Mheiri’s Al Murtajel the ride of Antonio Fresu.
Trainer Qaiss Aboud and jockey Jean van Overmeire were on target in the Wathba Stallions Cup 1000m sprint with AF Mutaaleq breezing home to win by a length and a quarter from AF Mutakafel (Oertel/Fresu), while the only Thoroughbred contest on the card, the Jebel Hafeet 1600m maiden, witnessed Bhupat Seemar’s Maputo take victory on his fourth career start, Jose Da Silva bringing him home a length clear of stable companion Waqet, the ride of Fresu. Maputo was one of five saddled by Seemar, the win helping the defending UAE Champion Trainer draw level with Watson at the top of this year’s championship leaderboard with 37 wins.
Watson though would close the night one ahead courtesy of Al Mahbooba’s triumph in the gruelling Final Leg of the Al Ain Marathon Series, which brought the curtains down on the night.