Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Bigg N Rich on track for glory

Dubai: The aptly named Bigg N Rich lived up to his billing when he ran out an effortless three-length winner of the Mazrat Al Ruwayah (Prep) — the feature race of Thursday’s Expo 2020-themed race meeting at Meydan racecourse.

Trained by Frenchman Eric Lemartinel in Abu Dhabi, the Darley-bred son of Falina Des Fabries was allowed to settle just off the pace in the 1600m event before jockey Gerald Avranche gave him a gentle push at the two furlong marker and he powered home unchallenged for his first success on the Tapeta track.

Bigg N Rich now has an impressive record of two wins from six starts in the UAE and will be prepared to challenge for all the major seven and eight-furlong races, including the Al Ruwais (G3), Bani Yas (G2), Liwa Oasis (G1) and National Day Cup (G1).

“He gave me a good feel for most of the race and, when I asked him to go, he stretched out effortlessly,” said Avranche. “He obviously likes the surface, so we have got to be hopeful about bringing him back here for all the big races.”

Lemartinel revealed that he would stick to the same campaign as he did last season with Bigg N Rich. “You don’t want to do anything different with a horse like him, you just need to give him time,” he said. “I got him late last year so we had to rush things a bit. But he’s settled down nicely after the summer break and has been working very well.

“We were confident coming here today and we hope that he can progress from here. He’s still open to improvement so let’s see what he can do,” added the Frenchman, who is based at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

“The options are not too many so we will stick to the same plan that we had last year and run him in all the races that are there for him.”

Trainer Mohammad Omar Daraj said he was absolutely gutted with the performance of race favourite, TM Super Bird, who finished last but one.

“We are shocked and can only wait until we take her home and see how she comes out of the race,” he said. “We were expecting a big run from her, but this was very disappointing. She was never in the race.”

TM Super Bird, a former Darley Champion Older Mare who was a ten-race winner in the US, was bidding to give Sharjah-based Daraj a long-awaited first success in more than four seasons.

All six races on the Meydan card carried the Expo 2020 banner to mark Dubai’s successful bid to host that year’s world fair.