Switzerland, ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, runs toward the finish line during the race.
Gulf Today, Sports Reporter
Racing at Meydan on Saturday, the first UAE meeting of 2022, was highlighted by the Listed Garhoud Sprint which was basically turned into a procession by Switzerland, completing doubles on the card for jockey Tadhg O’Shea and trainer Bhupat Seemar.
Over 1200m on dirt, the surface on which the whole card was staged due to issues with the turf track caused by inclement weather, it was contested by a select sextet but, having raced in the rear, O’Shea took aim at the other five leaving the home turn and found a willing partner. They hit the front with about 300m remaining and with the prize in safekeeping.
The 8yo Speightsown gelding is owned by RRR Racing as is well beaten runner-up Gladiator King, also trained by Seemar. It was a seventh career success for Switzerland and first since last year’s winning seasonal debut, over this 1200m dirt course and distance, in the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes. That was in January and he ran just twice more last season.
Seemar said: “That was very pleasing and we hoped for a good effort because he had been working very well. We have learned a lot about him after just three runs for us last season.
“Gladiator King has also run a very big race so we can only be delighted with the whole race.” The main support race, the 1400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial for 3yo
fillies, provided the exciting Shahama the perfect opportunity to defend he unbeaten record, something that only ever looked in doubt, briefly, when short of racing room early in the straight.
Once extricated from traffic by Adrie de Vries, the daughter of Munnings quickened in taking fashion and was soon in control, an effort pretty reminiscent of her breathtaking winning debut, over the same course and distance, three weeks ago.
Trained by Fawzi Nass for KHK Racing, she was an expensive purchase by her trainer in April at Ocala when he signed the docket at $425,000.
She has certainly done nothing wrong in two racecourse appearances and the 1600m of the UAE 1000 Guineas is likely to suit her. De Vries said: “She is a lovely filly and we have always really liked her. She won well first time but improved from that and, in fairness to her, it was her raw talent that won this tonight because we were struggling for room momentarily. “She has a big, long stride and is going to better over further. She will have learned even more this time and the extra experience will hold her in good stead.”