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Youngsters Strut At Abu Dhabi

Rich race night for Purebred Arabians

Purebred Arabian youngsters will take centre stage at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club`s meeting in the capital tomorrow (Sunday) with a trio of feature races for the three-year-old generation making up half the card.

The most valuable contest, with a purse of AED180,000, is the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship (1600m).

Six fillies, five colts and a gelding, have been declared though surprisingly, given the race’s status, only two of them are previous winners.

One of the fillies, Cloe De Faust could not have been more impressive when winning her sole start.

It was at Al Ain on dirt, so she has to prove herself on the Abu Dhabi turf, but the manner of her victory suggested she is of above average ability.

Jockey Tadhg O’Shea has again been booked for the ride by her trainer Eric Lemartinel and is expecting another bold showing from the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan-owned filly, given the paucity of other winning form in the contest.

“She did it very well at Al Ain,” said O’Shea. “We went there thinking she would be hard to beat but they need to produce it on the track.
“She certainly did and we think a lot of her. This is obviously a better race and different surface but if she is as good as we hope, she will at least go close.”

The only other runner who can boast winning form is UAE debutant RV Moulins Monarch, having his first local start for Arkan Stables-based trainer Hassan Al Hammadi.

Having made a winning debut in his native USA in April the colt was then well beaten on his one subsequent start in June.

The Abu Dhabi Fillies’ Classic (1400m) will open the programme with the weights headed by AF Laja and Alina, the only two previous winners among the maximum field of 14.

Sheikh Khalifa, Lemartinel and O’Shea again combine, this time with Alina, a narrow winner at Sharjah on her second and most recent start.

The Ernst Oertel-trained AF Laja also showed the benefit of a debut run when winning at the second time of asking, in her case a maiden over the same Abu Dhabi 1400m as tomorrow`s race.

She basically made all on that occasion under David Probert who retains the ride.

“She impressed me the last day,” said Probert. “I am not sure how strong a race it was but she did it well. This is a better race and she is penalised but at least we know conditions suit her.”

Al Ajban Stables-trainer Abdallah Al Hammadi is enjoying a purple patch of form and Aasal Al Reef, one of his two runners, has to be considered. Beaten a neck on debut by Alina, she is better off at the weights here and looks a big threat. Jockey Jesus Rosales renews the partnership.

The following Abu Dhabi Colts’ Classic is also over 1400m and this time the capacity field of 14 has four previous winners in the ranks.

The unbeaten AF Maqayes with a two-from-two record has earned a double penalty and will have to hoist top-weight of 59 kilograms. Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe has again named stable jockey O’Shea for the ride.

AF Maqayes is owned by Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda who is also represented by AF Hakeem and AF La’Asae, both trained by Oertel and both a winner of their only previous start.

Lemartinel saddles Hamza, winner of his local debut (his fourth career start) but well beaten behind AF La’Asae most recently.

The only Thoroughbred race, a 2400m handicap, has attracted a field of just nine and looks at the mercy of Moonlight Dash.

Trained at Zabeel Stables by Satish Seemar, the seven-year-old recorded his fourth career win when scoring over 2200m on the track four weeks ago and the step up in distance looks sure to suit.