If you wanted to be in the mix at Meydan on Thursday, at least through the first five races on the card, it was wildly helpful to be near the front, a trend we have seen throughout the first three meetings at the UAE’s racing HQ. As usual, all photographs provided by Cedric Lane Photography.
Bigg N Rich (below) vied for the early lead with Shateh in the Mazrat Al Ruwayah prep, saw that rival gain a mid-race edge, then rallied past for a repeat win in the race, previously run on Tapeta. This was trainer Eric Lemartinel’s second win of the season in the UAE.
One Man Band (below) got the Doug Watson train rolling for the night. After breaking slowest in the bulky field, One Man Band circled the field and was vying for the lead in the early part of the first turn. The son of Pivotal, making his second start of the season and fourth lifetime, stalked rail-riding Lake Hawk and went away for an easy six-length win.
Shaishee (below) was the last off the bridle and still just barely lasted in the third but it was good enough for his second consecutive tally on the dirt. Racing off a new high mark of 104, the difference in weight between he and Marching Time might have been a difference maker, as the latter was carrying just 53 kilograms. While Marching Time is likely to improve in the ratings, it was still a solid effort from the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Shaishee, who had taken ten tries to break his maiden, finally getting over the top last season.
The Taj (below) bolted in for his first win since his juvenile campaign, scoring in the fourth race handicap by almost five lengths. By Street Cry out of the multiple graded stakes winning mare India, this Doug Watson trainee is likely to move into the realm of liekly Carnival runners with an increase in the ratings. Going straight for the lead, there was no catching The Taj, who seems a very nice prospect for the future. Another Watson runner, third-placer Make It Reel, was running on at the finish and could be progressive on the surface as well.
“That was a great night,” said Watson. “It’s so nice to be back on the dirt here and to have horses that run up to the standard that you think they can. It’s really exciting that the yard is in such good form.”
The rematch between Tahaamah and Henry Clay was significantly closer than when the former beat the latter earlier in the stand. This time, though, Henry Clay had a cozy inside draw and less pace pressure in the race, seeing off the game gelding.
“This horse is so tough, said winning jockey Pat Dobbs. “I have not sat on many as brave as him and, once headed, he really fought back gamely. He deserved it, having already been second twice this season.”
In their previous meeting according to the Trakus data available on the Dubai Racing Club website, Henry Clay had traveled 14 metres more than Tahaamah, and on this occasion, Tahaamah went 18 metres more than Henry Clay. Clearly, ground loss mattered to some extent there.
Take a close note of the photo below from the winner of the last race, and then look back at all the pictures above – there is one common denominator in what this picture has and the others don’t. DIRT on the winner! Filfil made-up more ground than any horse so far this season in the winning effort for Satish Seemar and jockey Tadhg O’Shea.
Racing resumes at Meydan on December 18.
Watch the races below: