Cosgrave rides a double on opening night of racing at Meydan
Jockey Pat Cosgrave laid down his intentions for the months ahead by securing two wins on the opening night of the 2017/18 horse racing season at Meydan Racecourse, UAE.
Cosgrave rode winners in consecutive races whilst Tadhg O’Shea steered Trinity Force to victory in the day’s feature race, The Emirates Airline Handicap, as racing returned to Meydan for the first time since the Dubai World Cup day in March.
The first success came in the Emirates Holidays maiden as Rothenburg made a winning debut. Being drawn widest of all in stall 14 proved no obstacle in the race run over 1400 metres as the Helal Al Alawi-trained horse was given a patient ride by the jockey. Rothenburg was never far off the pace and when asked to go up a gear and challenge in the straight, the horse duly responded well. The winner came in a comfortable length and a quarter distance in front of Street Of Dreams in second and Loures in third.
That success was backed by another in the next race as Cosgrave completed his double by landing the Emirates A380 Handicap on Naaeebb.
Victory also got Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor off the mark for their campaign as Naaeebb, in only his fourth start made stealthy progress from midfield on the home turn before hitting the front early in the straight. From there, the three-year-old never really looked in any danger, running on well to beat Conquerant by a length and a quarter, with Ballad Singer in third.
The meeting’s feature race, the Emirates Airline Handicap, then followed and was won in determined fashion by the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Trinity Force.
Champion trainer, Doug Watson, had high hopes of success by saddling six of the 14 runners and it was one of them, Mizbah, who emerged with the early lead under Pat Dobbs. Turning for home they had the vast majority of their rivals in trouble, however, Tadhg O’Shea was edging closer aboard Trinity Force throughout the duration of the straight.
The latter drew level with 100 metres to go, with Mizbah fighting back but, Trinity Force finally passed with 50 to run, to win by a neck; Mizbah comfortably holding on for second from his stable companions, Grand Argentier and Jeeraan.
The first race of the Meydan campaign, the Arabian Adventures maiden, was won by Circle Dream,
All 10 runners were making their racecourse debut and sporting the silks of owner Nasir Askar, Circle Dream was soon at the head of affairs under Antonio Fresu. Turning for home, only J B Space and Skyrider appeared in a position to challenge but Fresu kicked for home with about 300 metres to run, effectively ending the 1200 metre race as a contest. The pair ran on strongly, providing trainer Satish Seemar with his first victory of the new season, winning by a length and three-quarters from Roy Orbison in second and Daffg in third.
Having provided first and second in the very first race of the campaign at Jebel Ali last Friday, Salem bin Ghadayer repeated the trick in the Emirates SkyCargo.
And similar to last week it was Xavier Ziani on the winner, Pit Stop, denying Royston Ffrench who looked to have stolen the race when shooting clear at the top of the straight aboard Pirate’s Cove.
However, a healthy lead some 200 metres from the line was not enough as, with Ffrench’s mount visibly tiring, Ziani rousted his and they swept past the stable companion close home to the delight of his jockey.
The meeting concluded with the Emirates Skywards, the second 1600 metre handicap on the card which was won by Galvanise.
Jockey Fernando Jara steered his mount to success by a length and a quarter from Munaaser in second and Thegreatcollection in third, giving trainer Doug Watson a double for the night.
The new season of horse racing at Meydan includes a calendar of nine domestic ‘Racing at Meydan’ meetings, each carrying a purse of up to AED1m. The Racing at Meydan meetings run concurrently to the international Dubai World Cup Carnival, which is run across 10 race meetings from January to March every year, starting on Thursday 11 January 2018.
The Dubai World Cup Carnival, worth more than US$10 m in prize money and is a season of high-class international race days contested by the most high-profile owners, trainers, horses and jockeys in the world, leading to the season-ending Dubai World Cup day, the richest day of racing in the world.
The biggest sporting and social occasion on the Dubai calendar, the US$30m race day is held at Meydan Racecourse on the last Saturday in March, which for 2018 falls on Saturday 31 March. It is the conclusion of the UAE racing season, featuring nine high-class races including six Group 1 and three Group 2 contests, which is brought to a close by the US$10m Dubai World Cup, won in 2017 by Arrogate.
The next Racing at Meydan is on Thursday 23 November.