(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Debutants winning feature races are a rarity but that is exactly what happened at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon when The New Maharaja was probably never headed under Tadhg O'Shea in the 1000m conditions race for three-year-olds, the official highlight on the card.
Trained by Satish Seemar, who also purchased the son of Morning Line at Ocala last April for $70,000, the striking grey colt clearly knew what was expected of him and, having taken a few strides to get balanced, was soon at the head of affairs.
At halfway, he was stalked by his stable companions, Circle Dream and J Be Space, who both looked big dangers, along with Goldenground and Arroway but, passing the 300m pole, he kicked clear, burning those rivals off in a few strides.
Always in control afterwards, he did perhaps tire close home with Waqqad and Meqdaam, both trained by Rashed Bouresly, staying on strongly on their first racecourse appearances.
Seemar said: "Who knows, he may live up to his name in his category! It is particularly satisfying to see a young horse like him, who we bought ourselves, win like that, especially first time. I would not normally take on previous winners with an unraced horse but we did not really have a choice and he has beaten some good horses. We will have to see how the handicapper rates him after that before making future plans but that was the perfect start."
The meeting concluded with a 1200m maiden and, for the vast majority of the race, it looked like a winning debutant double for Seemar with Lavaspin in front under Richard Mullen almost from the outset. However, he tired close home and was collared by Loures, opening his account at the fifth attempt and fourth locally.
Ridden by Fernando Jara, he is trained by Maria Ritchie who said: "He deserved a win after a couple of good efforts at Meydan and the hill seemed to suit him. It was not necessarily the plan to be that far back but he can be troublesome at the gates. Fernando did not panic and has given him a great ride."
Fresh from a Meydan double on Thursday's opening night of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, trainer Salem bin Ghadayer was immediately in the Jebel Ali winner's enclosure, saddling Bois De Boulogne to win the opening 1800m handicap under Xavier Ziani. Settled in midfield, Ziani asked his mount to close halfway up the long straight and the pair pounced on Au Coeur, who had led for most of the way under Richard Mullen, 300m from home.
Ziani's mount, Bois De Boulogne, who had finished second over the same course and distance at the previous meeting two weeks ago, behind stable companion Aslan, powered away to win comfortably from Au Coeur who stayed on well for second.
Royston Ffrench may have been out of luck on Aslan but wasted no time completing a double for Bin Ghadayer, driving Untold Secret to a hard fought victory in the following 1600m handicap. Like his stable companion, he too was opening his local account and doubling his career tally but, in his case after a lot more attempts; he won once from five starts in France and this was his 13th UAE attempt. Settled just behind Najm Suhail, the pair had their 14 rivals beaten off with 200m to run when it developed into a duel, Ffrench's mount leading just inside the final 200m before repelling a renewed effort from the early leader.
Strong Chemistry ran out the fairly convincing winner of the 1400m handicap, despite forfeiting ground as the stalls opened with a tardy start. Soon in mid division under Anal Al Siyabi he made smooth progress on the rail at halfway and once a gap appeared, burst to the front.
They soon put distance between themselves and the remaining 11 runners and always looked in control from there on in. A winner once for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby, in 2014, this was a first local victory for Strong Chemistry, on his 12th UAE outing but only sixth for trainer Khalifa Al Neyadi.