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Al Shemali

Al Shemali: victory capped a first UAE trainers' championship for Al Raihe

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker 

Ffrench lands 40-1 Duty Free shock on Al Shemali

Report: Dubai, Saturday

Meydan: Dubai Duty Free (Group 1) 1m1f, turf, 3yo+

ROYSTON FFRENCH landed a massive shock victory on locally trained longshot Al Shemali, who quickened in the straight to land the $5 million Dubai Duty Free after aslowly run race.

Trained in his early years by both Sir Michael Stoute and Saeed Bin Suroor, the six-year-old son of Medicean was representing Ali Rashid Al Raihe, for whom the victory capped a first UAE trainers' championship.

Al Shemali, who won a Tapeta handicap in February, was returned a 40-1 shot with British bookmakers before comfortably holding 12-1 chance Bankable by a length and a half.

Al Shemali had the race in the bag from the moment Ffrench kicked him on about a furlong and a half from home.

He swept past the three US challengers who were fighting for the lead, getting first run on a plethora of better-fancied rivals, largely undone by the tepid gallop.


Among them was the hot favourite Presvis, who met trouble in running.

A delighted Ffrench said: "The slow pace has probably helped us more than a few of these and he really quickened well.

"He was not stopping and ran all the way to the line. I was not sure who was finishing behind us but the line came in time and that is brilliant for the boss and the whole team."

Emirati Al Raihe added: "It has been a great season and a brilliant night - the horses have run well throughout and it is a great team effort. We do not have as many horses as some and it has been brilliant.

"It was lovely to see my old assistant (Mahmoud Al Zarooni) and apprentice (Ahmed Ajtebi) combine for a winner earlier and to have one myself and become champion trainer is superb."

Former Luca Cumani-trained Bankable, now with Herman Brown, flew home to take second but it was a vain chase and he was beaten by about a couple of lengths.

Imbongi stayed on for third, just running US-trained The Usual QT out of the places in a race full of disappointments among fancied runners.

The slowish pace did not suit the Luca Cumani-trained Prevsis, who lost all chance in the straight when struggling to find a run from the rear under new rider Christophe Lemaire.

"It was more like trackwork than a race and at least it didn't take a lot out of him," said Cumani, who is pressing on with plans to take Presvis to Hong Kong for next month's QEII Cup at Sha Tin.

Confront faded to 13th under Ryan Moore - "Ground was too hard and he didn't pick up," said the jockey - one place in front Alexandros and Frankie Dettori.

"It's not my night," said Dettori.

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