Abu Dhabi, UAE
Richard Mullen steered AF Kafu to a smart win in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday, November 25, 2018.
In winning this 5th race on the card, Mullen helped himself, trainer Ernst Oertel and his main patron, Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah to a double.
AF Kafu and Mullen finished ahead of AF Al Mawhebah under Sam Hitchcott with LaYfootkum under Fernando Jara in third place in the 2200m handicap carrying a prize fund of Dh 70,000.
Mullen was the man in the saddle on AF Kafu with Tadhg O’Shea electing to partner the same connections’ AF Motaghatres who was never able to land a blow before finishing sixth.
Never far off what appeared a frantic early gallop, with about seven runners seemingly wanting to lead into the first turn, Mullen always appeared happy to take his time with Shareef KB, also representing Oertel and Al Naboodah, cutting out the running. When that stable companion weakened leaving the final bend, Mullen committed for home, soon hitting the front and the pair stayed on strongly to make a victorious seasonal bow for AF Kafu.
A 5-year-old, AF Kafu has now run 14 times and was registering a first turf victory to add to two at Sharjah, the first over 1700m and more recently in January, over 2000m.
An almost rueful Mullen said: “It must have been a tough choice for Tadhg and he probably chose the other one because he had won on turf and had the benefit of an outing this season. As I said, for this owner and trainer, any spare ride is a good one and I have been lucky to be on two winners for them this evening.”
Mullen had earlier won the opening 1400m conditions contest, restricted to 3-year-olds foaled in the UAE, on AF Tahoonah.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2017, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort. (With inputs from ERA)