Feature Story

Sheikh Ahmed, Costa dominate in their backyard again

Sheikh Ahmed, Costa dominate in their backyard again Nov 18, 2023

By Duane Fonseca - 

For the second meeting in a row Jebel Ali patron Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his resident trainer Michael Costa made headlines in his backyard, a double on Saturday taking the pair’s tally to 10 for the season.

After winning the Handicap Sprint Stakes sponsored by the Emirates Sprint Series with Bilhayl (Ben Coen), Sheikh Ahmed’s yellow brigade reigned supreme in the feature 1400m Mohaather Stakes sponsored by Shadwell which was won by Mersaal under Omani apprentice Qais Al Busaidi. 

Mersaal was made to sit off the pace set by Salem bin Ghadayer’s Desert Safari (Royston Ffrench) and asked for an effort at the 600m marker. And he delivered without hesitation, gobbling up ground quickly to seize the initiative 400m out and run clear, chased home by teammate Sadaaty, the ride of Coen, who was three lengths adrift. Almoreb was a further length and a quarter behind in third for Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Bernardo Pinheiro. 

It was a second 1-2 for Costa on the card, Bilhayl and Coen proving too hot to handle for Laa Baas (Pat Dobbs), who went down by four and a quarter with third placed Salem bin Ghadayer trainee Benzema a distant 10 lengths back in third under Royston Ffrench.

The 2yo Novice Stakes (1000m) sponsored by Al Shafar Investments witnessed Bhupat Seemar’s Mooder mark his racecourse debut with a hard-earned one length win ahead of Costa’s Coen-piloted Turjman, the pair turning the three-horse contest into a match race, with Rasas the only other horse in the field finishing two and a half lengths back in third for Ahmad bin Harmash and Connor Beasley.

Bin Harmash and Beasley found winning luck in the card-closing 1600m Tobougg Corner Stakes sponsored by Jebel Ali Racecourse, where Delorean scored by two and three fourths of a length from Waqet, driven by Ryan Curatolo for Al Mheiri. Eljenob was a further three and three quarters of a length adrift for Costa and Coen. 

Racing got underway with The Audi Cup, a 1000m maiden for Purebred Arabians, which was won by the Qaiss Aboud trained AF Yatwa’ad, who put the race to bed at the halfway mark under Pinheiro, when kicking clear to win by four and three fourths of a length from AF Man’oot with JAP Daeya a further length and three fourths behind in third.

Opening their seasonal accounts were Julio Olascoaga and Bin Ghadayer, the former winning the 1200m Al Redha Insurance Cup with Rayed (Jose da Silva), the latter the Dubai Fitness Challenge 30x30 Cup with Attribution (Royston Ffrench).