By Sam Turner -
Connor Beasley has made a flying start to his UAE return and a sparkling treble for trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami saw the English rider take Abu Dhabi by storm on Thursday evening.
On a card which featured Richard Mullen’s welcome comeback from injury, Beasley stole the riding honours with a hat-trick of victories in the first three races, all for Al Hadhrami who was doubling his tally for the season.
The 29-year-old pilot was seen at his strongest aboard Fakhr to lift the opening 1200m handicap in the colours of the Royal Cavalry Oman.
AF Mathakeel and Tadgh O’Shea set a strong gallop from the outset and the champion jockey found Ernst Oertel’s five-year-old a willing ally until the duo were challenged inside the final 200m.
It was at that point that Beasley overhauled the long-term pacesetter and the combination stuck on gamely to register a second career win and show the benefit of an encouraging comeback run behind Taj Al Izz at Al Ain last month. The Jaber Bittar-trained Najih took third under Abdul Aziz Al Balushi.
Leg two for the in-form combination came courtesy of Jaleel who made a winning debut in the three-year-old 1400m maiden in the silks of Ben Shahwan Arabian Horse Stables.
In a near carbon copy of race one, Beasley took dead aim late on at the front-runner, which in this case was the Oscar Chavez-ridden Najm Baynounah. A power-packed finish took Jaleel clear of his front-running rival, while JAP Awoat finished a further two-and-three-quarter lengths back in third under Royston Ffrench.
The second meeting of the season at Abu Dhabi was turning into a benefit for the trainer/jockey partnership and Beasley and Al Hadhrami completed their sparkling hat-trick when Altiber comfortably lifted the 1400m maiden for older horses from the Majed Al Jahoori-trained Eiman (Bernardo Pinheiro) by four-and-a-half lengths. Nashwanh Al Sraya and Jules Mobian were a further length back in third for Ibrahim Aseel.
It was Beasley’s 11th win of the campaign and he said: “We had a good draw and my lad had good experience so there was no point complicating the job.
“He jumped well from the gates and travelled well in front, so we kept it pretty simple.
“He was entitled to win on his previous runs last year as they were good efforts so hopefully, he can progress from this and continue to improve.”
Dobbs excels on brave Bahwan
The Beasley/Al Hadhrami stranglehold was broken in the 1600m Conditions event when the Adil Mouchahi-trained Bahwan was perfectly delivered by Pat Dobbs to score in the colours of Mansour Ali Sulaiman Salem Al Shamsi.
In contrast to the previous winners on the night, the four-year-old was well off the pace before Dobbs made his ground wide in the straight to deliver his mount on the line and deny Nadia Du Loup (Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi/Abdul Aziz Al Balushi) by a neck.
A delighted Mouchahi said: “I think we will look to Meydan for him and if we find something good for Abu Dhabi we will try again here.
“I think from the 1600m he can go up in trip – a mile and upwards is better for him.
“I booked Pat (Dobbs) one month before as I thought he would really suit the horse and that’s how it worked out!”
Landmark victory for Mohammed
ES Midwakh benefited from a powerful ride from Adrie de Vries to hand trainer Adnan Mohammed a first career winner and shed his maiden tag at the 11th time of asking in the 1600m Al Wathba Stallions Cup for private owners.
“We went a good pace, and I was always sat with plenty in hand. He quickened up nicely in the straight and was well suited by the 1600m at a track like this,” commented De Vries who landed the penultimate race by a length-and-a-half from the Khalifa Al Neyadi-trained AF Yeheeb (Allaia Tiar). Beasley took third aboard Abubakar Daud’s Maimoun RS.
The finale was captured by Aswan, formally trained by Simon & Ed Crisford, who obliged on his second start for man of the moment Musabbeh Al Mheiri.
A smart tactical ride from the front by Bernardo Pinheiro saw him capture the closing Thoroughbred 1600m handicap by three lengths at the expense of Chosen Mark (Ahmed Al Shemali/de Vries) and Miami Joy, partnered by Qais Al Busaidi for Ismail Mohammed.