Ashforth's Angles: Moubarak looking to rise from the Ashes
THE very last race of an ordinary midweek raceday, the 8.15 at Chelmsford, will pass by largely unnoticed. Yet it sees the appearance of an out of the ordinary figure from the past. The Lebanese trainer Mohamed Moubarak runs Out Of The Ashes.
When Warba ran at Lingfield on December 17 it was Moubarak's first runner in Britain since 1992. In those days Moubarak was Mahmoud Fustok's British trainer, an enviable job because Fustok, also Lebanese with prosperous Saudi Arabian connections, owned a major international breeding and racing operation.
In 1978 Fustok bought Buckram Oak Farm in Kentucky. In 1980 another Lebanese trainer, Mitri Saliba, won both the valuable Turf Classic in New York for Fustok with Anifa and the Poule d'Essai des Poulains with In Fijar. Fustok won the same race twice more, with Siberian Express in 1984 and Fast Topaz two years later.
He was a big player on the European stage, with champion miler Green Forest winning three Group 1 races as a two-year-old in 1981 followed by the 1982 Prix du Moulin. That year Fustok's Silver Hawk, trained by another Lebanese, Michael Albina, finished third in the Derby then second in the Irish Derby. In 1983 and 1984 Crystal Glitters won the Prix d'Ispahan. That year Fustok sent 60 horses to Andre Fabre, a move said to have influenced Fabre's decision to concentrate on the Flat.
It was in 1988 that Moubarak, then in his early twenties and a family friend of Fustok's, began training in Newmarket. Between 1990 and 1992 he trained over 50 winners, including Group race winners Green Line Express, Made Of Gold, Forest Wind and Magnificent Star, who won the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks in 1991.
In 1992 Moubarak joined Fustok in Florida where he worked for Buckram Oak Farm as a trainer and racing manager. In 2006 - a few months after Silver Train, trained by Richard Dutrow, won the Breeders' Cup Sprint for Fustok - he was killed in a road accident. The previous year, aged 69, he had sold Buckram Oak Farm for over $17 million.
There was an intriguing coda to Fustok's involvement in racing, when his name appeared in the 2011 Report by the Moriarty Tribunal into the controversial financial affairs of former Irish Taoiseach Charles Haughey. Mr Justice Moriarty's observations on what could be called the case of the invisible £50,000 yearling make fascinating reading, as do some other racing related elements of the Report.
Moubarak, not involved in the Moriarty inquiry, continued to work for the organisation in the USA but has now returned to Newmarket. Now 50, he has plenty of successful experience and it will be interesting to see how he fares.
Out Of The Ashes is much more likely to give Moubarak the first winner of his second stint in England than Blanville (12.50 Lingfield) is to give Mr Bradley Paris-Crofts his first winner under rules at the 40th attempt. The 19-year-old has won in the Arabian horse racing arena. His day will come.