Issarab and Istimara, two Tunisians bracing themselves for their French challenges


Issarab and Istimara, two Tunisians bracing themselves for their French challenges


by Mondher Zouiten

The services of Sylvain Ruis are regularly sought after in the top Tunisian prizes. Consequently, he also received a call to arms for the final Sunday meeting of 2019, in which six races carried local Gr1 status. Booked for the ride on the 4-year-old Issarab (Kandar du Falgas), the combination triumphed in the richest race on the card: the Grand Prix du Ministère de l’Agriculture (2,000m, 10f), which is open to PA 3-year-olds and above. Making his effort at half-way, Issarab cruised effortlessly into the lead. Drawing clear at the distance, he left his rivals for dead after impressively drawing six lengths clear of

Jalfen (Tidjam Lotois). The latter, the only 3-year-old in the race, was far from disgraced.

There was a very big gap to the well beaten third Il Mourtajez (Kandar du Falgas). The winner clocked a good time (2’25’’02) on a Kassar Said sand track, which is reputed to

have plenty of cushion. Sylvain Ruis later praised the winner as the best PA horse which he has ridden in Tunisia. Issarab was also completing a five timer, and he has amassed six wins and a second in his seven starts to date. Lest it be forgotten, he proved an equally emphatic winner of the Grand Prix du Président de la République - Derby des 4ans, when he was again ridden by Sylvain Ruis, last May. Connections are now thinking in terms of sending the winner to France, where he will be aimed at the top spring and summer prizes of the 2020 season. A son of Kandar du Falgas (Kesberoy) and Rou’ya (Samir), he was both born and bred at Malek Stud in southern Tunisia. The superb chestnut is owned by Haras Othman Rajhi. An hour earlier, Sylvain Ruis rode another winner in the same ownership after making his mark in the Grand Prix des Pur-Sang Arabes de 3ans et plus for 3-year-olds and above, a 1,600m race for PA horses of Tunisian parentage, after the 5-year-old Hafif (Rafii ex Najoua) stormed five lengths clear.

The 4-year-old PA filly Istimara (Madjani), a standard bearer of the Haras Gantouria,

made her mark by making it five wins on the bounce in the Grand Prix des Femelles for 3-year-old fillies and upwards. Her team are thinking in terms of sending her to France in the near future.