Arabian Gleam Well Up To The Challenge
1 (2) Arabian Gleam 7/1
Champions’ Day 2009 began with a local success on the Rowley Mile when Arabian Gleam, trained by Jeremy Noseda, recorded a game victory in the seven-furlong Group Two Victor Chandler Challenge Stakes.
Having seen off the challenges from Godolphin’s Donativum and Ashram, the five-year-old held on from the fast-finishing Ouqba to register a neck verdict. He was a 7/1 chance.
Jeremy Noseda said: “That was very good. He has now won a Group Two race in each of the last three years and is a tough, honest horse who always tries his best.
“The good ground today really helped him. When the ground is really fast, he just feels it a bit but when it is genuinely good ground with a bit of ease, he is a good, solid performer.
“I will have a word with the owner (Saeed Suhail) and Bruce (Raymond, racing manager to the owner) but I would think that’s it for this season. He could go out to Dubai over the winter - I think the new Tapeta surface out there should suit him.
“He got jarred when he ran at Royal Ascot and then the ground was fast all summer. We sent him to Doncaster (where Arabian Gleam was attempting to win the Group Two Park Stakes for the third year in a row) and even though the ground wasn’t really right for him, he still ran well and was a shade unlucky.
“Credit must also go to Johnny Murtagh. He makes a big difference to this horse as he really gets a tune out of him. It is a always an advantage to have him on board.”
Johnny Murtagh added: “Champions’ Day has started well! I thought that I had some good rides coming here today and this is the first one. Fair dues to Jeremy, who said that he was in good shape and he was today - he has done it well.
"He always runs well at this time of year. Doncaster is usually his place but he missed last out last time and thankfully he was able to make up for it today.
"It’s beautiful ground. There is a nice covering of grass. I am looking forward to the rest of the day - I thought that I would come here and ride a good few winners. The first one has gone in so hopefully I can do the same with the rest."
SHADWELL TEAM DISAPPOINTED AS OUQBA JUST MISSES OUT
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and Richard Hills are leading owner and jockey respectively at Newmarket this season but 5/1 shot Ouqba could not add to their excellent record despite finishing very strongly to be second to Arabian Gleam by a neck.
Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan, indicated that Ouqba is very likely to remain in training next year and said: “I’m disappointed for the horse because he deserved to win and he should have won it but Richard (Hills) held his hands up and said he should have picked up earlier.”
Gold added: “But he finished off very well and he’s a cracking little horse.”
Ted Durcan, who rode third-placed Donativum for the Godolphin team, said: “He’s run a solid race - he went to win it but levelled out.”
Frankie Dettori, rider of beaten 7/2 favourite Ashram, said: “He needs to get his own way and he didn’t get it today.”
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