The Royal Cavalry of Oman’s homebred colt, Nafees, dominated the final stages of the Group 1 President of the UAE Cup (UK Arabian Derby) run at Doncaster this afternoon. Drawing clear in the hands of Tadhg O’Shea, the colt won by two and a quarter lengths, from Ahzar who had finished much closer in the French equivalent at Chantilly in June, with Motrag almost two lengths further behind.
Trainer Charles Gourdain, who is based in Pau in France, was delighted with his colt’s win saying: “It is the last Group 1 race for four-year-olds this season and he has shown today that he is the best of his generation. I would like him to have a break now and we will look forward to next year.”- Mrs. Debbie Burt , Posted on 15 September 2017
Tadhg O’Shea was also pleased with Nafees, commenting: “He’s a really nice horse. Charles told me to drop him in and ride him with loads of confidence. He settled well, maybe I had him too switched off, so I had to give him a shake of the reins, but to be fair, he really picked up the bridle. He’s a very good four-year-old with a potent turn of foot.”
Representing the Royal Cavalry was their Racing and Bloodstock advisor, Jean-Pierre Deroubaix, who thanked Oman, His Majesty the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said and Brigadier General Abdulrazak Al Shahwarzi of the Royal Cavalry for the opportunity to manage their stable.
Of the Nafees’s performance he said: “We had to run against older horses in the summer, but this race was perfect for him. The trainer gave good orders and the jockey followed them. Somedays it doesn’t work, but today it was perfect.”
Faisal Al Rahmani, General Secretary for the President of the UAE Cup series, was happy to be back for a second year saying: “It’s been a beautiful day, it’s wonderful to run the President of the UAE Cup on such a prestigious race day in the UK. We want to progress this series across the world.”
The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) had been thrilled by the prospect of a rematch between Nafees and Ahzar and the race itself did not disappoint. Run over a mile and a quarter, The President of the UAE Cup had resumed its’ association with the UK Arabian Derby last year and is exclusively for four-year-old Purebred Arabians. Sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, it boasts a prize fund of £80,000, with £40,000 to the winner.
ARO Director, Genny Haynes commented: “We are delighted for the Royal Cavalry of Oman, who have also been a long-term supporter and sponsor of Arabian racing in this country. This the final Group 1 of the UK Arabian racing season, and the last for the Purebred Arabian classic generation in Europe. We hope that Nafees, Ahzar and Motrag emulate last year’s winner and placed horses who have all won Group 1 races across Europe this year, which has really upheld the form of this race, and the value of Arabian racing in the UK and worldwide.”
She continued: “We are extremely grateful to the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for their generous support of our feature race for four-year-olds. Moving the President of the UAE Cup to St Leger Day itself this year, further enhances the prestige of the race and the status of Arabian racing in the UK, with it being run as part of Doncaster’s most prestigious meeting of the year. We thank all the team at Doncaster for helping to promote the day and for their support of Arabian racing.”