Osborne First Lady Jock To Win At Meydan

Dubai Racing Carnival resumes on Friday  23 February

History was made at Meydan Racecourse on Friday when Saffie Osborne became the first female jockey to ride a winner in the course’s 14-year history.

The 21-year-old missed out on Ouzo’s previous Dubai Racing Carnival success through injury but was back on board for the featured Lord Glitters Handicap [Presented by Al Tayer Motors], over 1800m on turf.

Saffie Osborne drives Ouzo to victory (Pic – DKR)

Held up at the back of the 14-strong field, Ouzo, trained by Osborne’s father Jamie, still had most of them ahead of him in the straight.

He then had to overcome some trouble in running before the gaps opened just in time, allowing him to charge past Godolphin pair Highbank and First Sight for a length success.

“I was delighted for everyone last time but gutted not to be on him,” said Osborne. “All credit to [Assistant Trainer] Jimmy McCarthy and Dad’s team for getting him spot on as he’s a hard horse to get right.

“I remember sitting on the sofa watching when Dad won the UAE Derby [with Toast Of New York in 2014] so, ten years on, to be riding winners for him out here is pretty special.”

Love Prevails on the Turf

Second in the Jumeirah Fillies’ Classic last time out, Beautiful Love was a hot favourite in the Defender 130 three-year-old race and she didn’t let her supporters down.

Ridden by William Buick for Charlie Appleby, the Siyouni filly collected her second career win in emphatic style in the 1600metre turf event, powering clear of Athan for a six-length success.

“She’s a very nice filly and when she ran over seven [furlongs – 1400metres] last time it was always going to be too sharp,” said Buick after his 17th winner of the Carnival.

“She’ll appreciate stepping up even more to a mile and a quarter and hopefully she’s a filly who can keep some nice company back at home.”

The turf track was also the venue for a Rashed Bouresly-trained 1-2 when Ashger Asser broke his maiden in the Defender 110 Handicap, over 1200metres.

Ridden by Panamanian jockey Omar Salas, the four-year-old hit the front with 200metres left to go and just held on from stablemate Shanaghai City.

“Thank you to the owners and trainer, thank you, thank you!” said Salas after his fourth UAE winner. “It’s my first win in Meydan.”

It was a good night for Panama-born jockeys as Oscar Chavez won the very next race, the Land Rover Handicap, over 1400metres on dirt.

He rode Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Asad Zabeel who gained a first local win from just off the pace, pouncing in the straight and seeing off fellow Shadwell-owned Khanjar by a diminishing neck.

“You’re always delighted when you have a winner!” said Chavez. “He set off beautifully behind the leaders and they went hard early. No-one wanted to be on the inside so I was able to cut the corner and save some ground.

“The way he ran today, I’m sure he will improve.”

Al Mheiri doubled up when Qareeb followed up his recent Jebel Ali success in the closing Defender 90 Handicap, over 2000metres on turf.

Ridden by Richie Mullen, Naser Askar’s versatile six-year-old picked up a seventh career success, just six days on from a good third in the G3 Jebel Ali Mile.

“He only ran last week and before that it was ten days prior,” said Mullen. “His form is better on dirt but the way the grass track is riding, after the rain, he was able to get his toe in.

“He’s very honest and he tries very hard. He went down to the start very well and looked fantastic – he’s a credit to the team at Musabbeh’s.”

Doug and Dobbs at the Double

Second on his previous three starts, Doug Watson’s Nyaar deserved a change of luck and got it when breaking his maiden in the Defender 130 Outbound Edition, on dirt.

The Munnings colt was trying 1600metres for the first time but jockey Pat Dobbs opted to keep things simple from the front. In the straight, they had plenty left in reserve and beat Ezaj, who tried hard on the outside but couldn’t get on terms.

“He’s been crying out for [a win] and he was hitting the line well over seven [furlongs, 1400metres] so I was confident he’d get it, although he’s bred to be a sprinter,” said Dobbs.

“He’s very straightforward. He can run at Jebel Ali, or here, it doesn’t really matter.”

Watson and Dobbs completed a double 35 minutes later when Mcmanaman collected his first win since 2021 in the Defender 110X Handicap, over 1400metres on turf.

Gary Allsopp’s six-year-old had run well when fourth over course and distance a month ago and did even better here, switching around the pacesetters inside the final 400metres and powering clear of second Changing Colours, winning by a length.

“He’s settled down a lot as he’s got older, he used to be a bit edgy,” said Dobbs. “A good draw was important as he was able to track the pace. It’s hard to find races for him as he’s not quite up to Listed class.

“Doug has improved them before at the age of six and seven so I see no reason why he can’t back it up.”

On a night when horses were awarded for their consistency, Lion’s Mane gained his first local win at the fourth attempt in the Defender 110 Country Edition Handicap, over 2200metres on dirt.

A dour stayer, Ahmad Bin Harmash’s gelding toughed it out under Connor Beasley, getting to Military Option and Ahesta Bero inside the final 100metres and winning by a length.

“He’s run a couple of good races here and we thought Jebel Ali would suit him last time, but it didn’t,” reportedly Beasley after win number 35 for the season. “He’s always showed us plenty in the mornings and I’m delighted he’s finally got the job done.”

The green and yellow silks of Al Wathba Racing are to be feared at Meydan this season and they were successful in race one, the Defender X Dynamic Maiden for Purebred Arabians, won by Arkan Al Wathba.

The Majed Al Jahoori-trained five-year-old was making his debut but came home strongly enough under Bernardo Pinheiro, beating Easy Lap by three and a quarter-lengths.

“He has been doing well in the yard but it’s hard for one who is five who has never been here before,” said the jockey. “He didn’t have the speed from the gates so I had to push him. He’s still a big baby but I believe he can improve.”

  • The Dubai Racing Carnival resumes next Friday  23 February when the Gr2 Balanchine Stakes and Gr2 Singspiel Stakes are the feature races on a quality-packed card.

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