Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, elected to ride Mahbooba (FR), a recent course and distance winner, trained by Eric Lemartinel and owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. O’Shea considered his main dangers to be Sniper De Monlau (FR) trained by Helal Al Alawi and ridden by Royston Ffrench and Richard Mullen’s mount Loraa (FR) trained by Jean de Roualle.
A Group 1 winner in France, Loraa only had two local starts, including a third behind Mahbooba, but her class was enough for victory on the day. Mullen settled Loraa midfield, before hitting the front as the field entered the straight. The pair held on to win by neck from Sniper De Monlau and Ffrench.
Mullen said: “This is a great training performance as Jean did tell me before the race to expect a massive run from her. He was certainly right and that was a big performance.”
“She is a very special mare who has had a few problems,” said De Roualle. “I was delighted with her third in the prep race as I knew she would be in perfect condition tonight which was the main target. Hopefully we will now go for the Kahayla Classic at Meydan Racecourse on the Dubai World Cup card.”
Next up on the Purebred Arabian Racing Group 1 calendar was the US$1million, Gr.1 HH The Emir’s Sword over 2400m, held during HH The Emir’s Sword Meeting in Doha, Qatar, on the 25th of February.
With easy victories in the first two legs of the Purebred Arabian Triple Crown, Al Shaqab’s Al Mourtajez (FR), trained by Thomas Fourcy with Julien Auge in the saddle, looked likely to clinch the title and the US$ 1 million bonus.
Unfortunately things did not go the way of the Dahess entire and for the second year running victory belonged to trainer Julian Smart, this time with the H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani owned Ebraz (GB).
Al Mourtajez moved smoothly into the lead in the home straight, but Ebraz under Alan Munro and the 2016 winner Gazwan (GB) with Richard Mullen in the saddle stuck with him. With 200 to go, Munro sent Ebraz forward and the four-year-old colt powered clear to win by three and a half lengths.
Al Mourtajez had to settle for third, with a flying Tayf (FR) and Olivier Peslier getting the better of him by a head, with Gazwan (Richard Mullen) in fourth and Sniper De Monlau (Pat Cosgrave) in fifth.
The AED 500,000 Gr. 1 Liwa Oasis over 1400m at Abu Dhabi on the 5th of March was the last in the trio of Group 1 races for Purebred Arabians.
With Gerald Avranche in the saddle, RB Burn (US), who won the world’s most valuable Purebred Arabian contest, the €1.2million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown over 1600m in November, recorded his second Group 1 victory of the season for trainer Eric Lemartinel.
Settled well off the pace by Avranche, RB Burn reached the frontrunners as the field turned for home. Avranche sat patiently before sending the grey entire into the lead at the 200m mark, to win going away by one and a half lengths for owner Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“I was determined to find cover on him early on as he can be keen,” said Avranche. “Once he settled he travelled nicely so I was happy tracking AF Maqayes and he quickened nicely when I asked.”
Lemartinel added: “He will improve for that and will go to the Kahayla Classic at Meydan Racecourse on Dubai World Cup day.”
The final Group 1 for Purebred Arabians before the running of the Gr.1 Dubai Kahayla Classic on the 25th of March, is the AED 1 million Gr.1 Emirates Championship over 2200m on the 19th of March at Abu Dhabi.