Al Mourtajez: could only manage sixth in world's richest Arab racePICTURE: Getty Images
RB Burn wins as Al Mourtajez flops
Report: Abu Dhabi, Sunday
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Pure-bred Arabian Group 1) 1m turf, 4yo+
AL MOURTAJEZ flopped as the world's richest Arab race was won by the locally trained RB Burn, owned by the UAE president's son Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
It was not the result most had anticipated as the highest-rated horse in Arab racing, Al Mourtajez, could only finish sixth having never travelled smoothly.
Victory for RB Burn in the €1.2 million contest was celebrated in style by winning trainer Eric Lemartinel, based 30 minutes from the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
"This is very special," he said. "I saw this horse racing in France but he didn't always have good luck. He wore first-time blinkers today so was more concentrated."
RB Burn was bred in the US by Dianne Waldron and was taking his career record to three wins in nine starts. Lemartinel mentioned the Dubai Kahayla Classic on World Cup night in March as a goal.
Avranche stalked Silvestre de Sousa on Thakif as Al Mourtajez, a barnstorming success at Goodwood in July, seemed unsettled by the searing pace.
"What an amazing feeling," said Avranche. "I had a good draw and a very good lead. We went very fast and it was fast ground."
With Thierry Jarnet second on Mabrooka and Jean-Bernard Eyquem third on Sylvine Al Maury the race proved a clean sweep for French jockeys.
Also on Sunday
Abu Dhabi: HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (Purebred Arabians, 1m, turf)
Catherine Walton from Wark in Northumberland was wreathed in smiles after steering Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan's RB Dixie Burning to victory in the ladies' world championship.
"It's an absolutely fantastic experience," said Walton. "This is the first time I've ridden here and only the second time I've ridden an Arab."
The winner, a six-year-old mare beaten only once in six runs, is trained in Abu Dhabi by Eric Lemartinel and was bred in the US by Dianne Waldron.
HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice Jockeys Championship (IFAHR) (Purebred Arabians, 1m, turf)
Dylan Dunn from Australia celebrated with a flying dismount after his first ride in an Arab race brought a win with a bold front-running strategy on Qader.
The Australian jockey with more than 1,000 rides in the two years he has been an apprentice made the race his own in the colours of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nayhan.