By Duane Fonseca -
Meydan raised a toast to Musabbeh Al Mheiri on the opening night of the Dubai Racing Carnival on Friday when the long-time Emirati trainer provided further proof of his status as one of the true greats of the sport in the UAE by entering the elite 500s club.
Al Mheiri, who resides on 501 wins after his Meydan double, joins the extraordinary club headed by Satish Seemar, the former Zabeel Stables boss, who is far ahead of the rest with 857 winners.
Al Mheiri is currently fifth on the list and trails second-placed Doug Watson (734) and former trainers Erwan Charpy and Dhruba Selvaratnam on 543 and 534 respectively.
Al Mheiri went into the season opener at Meydan on 499 wins, having opened his account at Al Ain where Alhebi scored in a maiden for Purebred Arabians.
On the precipice of the milestone, El Nasseeb’s rampant seven-and-a-quarter length success in a juvenile maiden helped his trainer reach 500 before Qareeb’s hard-fought half-length victory later on the card made it 501.
Al Mheiri, champion trainer in 2014-15, was clearly over the moon at having hit the 500 marker.
“It’s brilliant to have reached the landmark of 500 wins, but it’s all down to the team we have at the stables,” said Al Mheiri, who first scored when Jameel Dancer won a Conditions event at Sharjah on December 31, 1992.
“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved, the riders, grooms, my assistants that have been part of the operation and the owners that have helped me by putting their trust in me and giving me their horses to train so it’s just all round nice to have got to the mark.”
AL MHEIRI'S FAMOUS FIVE
Included in that terrific tally are five Group One successes starting with Special Fighter’s victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 in 2016. He added four more subsequently: Dubai Golden Shaheen (2016, Muarrab), Jebel Hatta (2022 & 2023, Alfareeq) and Al Quoz Sprint (2023, Danyah)
“It’s nice to have a record, as it gives you the motivation to go on and get more wins and reach even greater heights.”
Lauding his former boss, for whom he rode numerous Listed and Group level winners, Antonio Fresu, riding now in the United States, said: “It’s always a pleasure to talk about Musabbeh. I was part of his team for four seasons and he’s always been a pleasure toworkwithandIamhappytobeapartof his success. He’s such a great person and a great trainer and I am really happy he’s been able to reach 500 winners and I really wish him 500 more winners. He totally deserves it.”