Burn proves too hot for top-rated Mourtajez in richest Arab contest
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Purebred 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 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.
Gerald Avranche stalked Silvestre de Sousa on Thakif as Al Mourtajez, a barnstorming winner 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.
Lemartinel and Waldron were also the winning trainer and breeder of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race winner RB Dixie Burning.
The winning jockey on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s horse was Catherine Walton, from Wark in Northumberland.
“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.”