The opening night of the new Dubai Racing Carnival was one to remember for the Touch Gold Racing syndicate, who added to their trophy cabinet in the two most valuable races.
Mike Kaye’s ownership group has renewed its investment in Dubai racing and one of their new purchases, Western Symphony (pictured), quickly paid back a chunk of his fee when taking the night’s feature, the Emirates Airline Handicap, over 1600metres.
Ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for Bhupat Seemar, the five-year-old registered a fourth career success in smooth fashion, taking it up at the top of the straight and beating the eye-catching Seyouff by a length and a half.
“He’s a really strong traveller, which you want for the dirt,” said O’Shea. “He puts a lot into his races so we might space them out a bit more this season.”
35 minutes later, the same connections graced the winner’s enclosure again when Leading Spirit sprinted to his fifth career success. Facing Group 3 winners Al Tariq and Gladiator King, this was a competitive renewal of the 1200metre Emirates Airline Handicap, but Leading Spirit won with a bit in hand, taking over the lead from pacesetter Fast-Uno off the turn and holding on by a diminishing neck from Magic Petition.
“There were a couple on my outside that I didn’t want to follow so I probably went forward a bit sooner than ideal,” said 11-time Champion Jockey O’Shea. “These are lucky colours tonight, anyway!”
Milestone for Al Mheiri
The first two-year-old race of Meydan’s season, the Emirates Holidays Maiden, over 1200metres, produced an exciting winner in El Nasseeb, who gave trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri his 500th UAE winner.
“I am very happy to have this number on this night,” said Al Mheiri, “as tomorrow it’s my birthday!
“I want to say thanks to my team, as we are working as if we are one.”
The landmark couldn’t have come in much more impressive fashion as El Nasseeb, a 6,173 Euros Goffs Dubai Breeze-up purchase, powered home by seven and a quarter lengths on his debut. Gasssid, well-fancied beforehand for in-form trainer Michael Costa, was second.