Rains fail to put a damper as Meydan ring in the New Year with thrilling fare


Bahraini filly Shahama gets ‘rising star’ nod after resolute victory in the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial

Persistent rains created a slew of challenges for racegoers heading to Meydan Racecourse for the first meeting of the New Year on Saturday but once they arrived there they were served up a feast of high-quality racing that included the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial.

Bahraini raider Shahama delivered the star performance of the evening when winning the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial resolutely in the hands of the very capable Adrie de Vries.

Trained by Faqzi Nass, the Munnings filly by five-time Grade 1 winner Lookin At Lucky, may not have had it as easy as in her first start where she won by 9 lengths, but she still came home a comfortable 2 ½ length winner over Shinyar and Patrick Cosgrave.

Having raced in mid-division early in the 1,400 metre trip, Shahama appeared to find herself with traffic issues approaching the final two furlongs of the race. But in a matter of strides, she used her superior turn of foot to burst clear for a very impressive victory.

De Vries, a 12-time champion in his native Netherlands, was full of praise for the winner of a $450,000 purchase at the Ocala Sales in April, said: “She’s so professional. Going down today I was a bit worried at how quiet she was.

“She had an easy run first time out but you never know how these youngsters are going to handle it on their second start. But she took it well and she did this nicely.

“I was in the pocket for a little while, but I was glad things didn’t go too smoothly today because she learned something today,” he added. “She’s got that turn of foot and keeps going. An extra furlong will only suit her. She’s a very exciting horse.”

Saturday’s Meydan card, the run on the new UAE weekend, also featured the Al Garhoud Sprint, the first race in a series that lead up to the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, one of the most prestigious sprint races in the world..

Switzerland aces Al Garhoud Sprint 

And it went to the Bjupat Seemar-trained Switzerland, who was ridden with confidence by stable-jockey Tadhg O’Shea to win the 1m200 metre dirt contest by a wide margin of 9 ¼ lengths from stable companion Gladiator King, the 2020 winner of the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint.

An eight-year-old son of Speightstown Switzerland showed that he retains the zest of racing when hitting the front at the 400 metre marker and stretching out to win in imperious fashion


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