The Al Bashayer Camel Racing Complex was abuzz with the news that popular Mudhaibi camel trainer Mahmood bin Ali al Jabri had sold his day two winner, Al Afia (by Ibn Sarab, out of Khawr) to an Emirati enthusiast for an undisclosed sum.
Negotiations commenced immediately after Tuesday’s win, and the sale was finalised soon after. Al Jabri had indicated on day two that Al Afia, being only young, was open to significant improvement and capable of performing in elite company.
Among the throng of trainers with entries on day four, Saham handler Sultan bin Rashid bin Abdullah al Rashdi, and owners Mohammed bin Said al Khaldi and Faisal bin Ali al Khaldi had two camels entered, Watan and Taqdeer. Hopeful, it appeared rather than confident, the trio explained that the festival, as the premier camel racing event in the Sultanate, should be supported, and that their camels should run well.
Local trainer Hamed bin Mohammed al Wahaibi led the way on this, the penultimate day of the Al Bashayer Camel Racing Festival on Thursday near Adam, taking out the first two events in hollow style. Mutabah was the hottest of favourites for Round 1, and duly the mare duly obliged, romping away from a good quality field in a stunning 13:06. The victory cemented the Al Bashayer camel master’s position as the leading trainer across the festival to date, after two good wins on day three.
In the next race, his Albaz was favoured only due to the trainer’s current hot run of results, but in another large field, ran on strongly in the home straight to also win convincingly in 13:19. Shahania, in the third round, was a popular winner for another Al Bashayer owner/trainer in Abdullah bin Tawarish al Wahaibi. “Neither are champions,” said one aficionado, “but they can run, and are not so old they can’t be competitive in better company.”
There was magic in the air as Asiad, for Bahla owner/trainer Essa bin Salim al Dariei, cleared out late after disputing the pace, for a strong win in Round 4. The victory led to jubilant scenes among onlookers that suggested the result was not unexpected. Emirati Mohammed bin Ahmed al Amri saw his Mowalua decorated with the light blue Shazer, or dress rug, after Round 5 in what may have been a slow time, but one can only win, and the same handler also picked up a second placing on the day with Ashabia.
The sixth event was restricted to Omani camels and was taken out by Shadida, in a time of 13:45, for Al Qabil identity Salim bin Hadoob al Malki, and Obaid bin Mohammed al Wahaibi took out the final event for local camels only, with Al Adbh, who just nosed out Gawaya, in a fast 13:18, thus giving the Al Bashair Corps a deserved win.
The Final Day of the Festival, the showpiece of the week with excellent trophies, prize money, and quality camels engaged, is on Saturday, with a 2 pm start.