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Speed on Display Sunday in Abu Dhabi`s Gp3 Al Ruwais

The sprinters get the chance to shine at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday with eight declared for the 1200m Al Ruwais (G3) being contested over the trip for the first time having traditionally been a 1000m race.

The weights are headed by RB Torch, penalised for his victory in the Bani Yas (G2) on the Meydan dirt surface in December, having also won his seasonal reappearance, a 1600m conditions race (Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Prep) a month prior. Trained at Al Asayl by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he will be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, currently leading the season’s leading jockey. His only previous outing over 1200m was a winning one, over Sunday’s course in January of last year.

O’Shea said: “He is a good horse who should be competitive on Sunday. Obviously the penalty makes the task a bit more difficult against some decent performers, but if things fall right for him, he should be thereabouts in an open race.”

Reigning champion jockey Richard Mullen appears to be aboard one of the main dangers, Rmmas, to be saddled by Jean de Roualle for Yas Horse Racing Management who own three of the eight. This will be just his third local outing and he won the most recent, over 1600m on dirt at Al Ain, in the style of a very useful performer. This will be the shortest trip over which he has raced but his other career victory was over 1400m, on turf, in France and he did not appear devoid of pace when winning at Al Ain.

“He is a nice, young, horse who we really like,” De Roualle said. “Returning to turf is certainly not an issue and, we hope, he will cope well with the drop in trip. We are hopeful of a good run.”

The main support race is the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Gold Cup, afforded Prestige status and over 1600m. A select field of six have been declared with O’Shea riding the only filly among them, Ras Esina, like Molahen El Alhan, the mount of Gerald Avranche, trained by Lemartinel for Sheikh Khalifa.

Ernst Oertel saddles three for champion owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, with Silvestre de Sousa aboard AF Al Hazer, who was last seen when well beaten in the Kahayla Classic (G1) on Dubai World Cup night in March. Stable companion AF Al Sajanjle, the mount of Antonio Fresu, certainly should not be discounted, a comment that also applies to Al Tiryaq.

Trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi, AL Tiryaq was hampered at the start on his latest start a fortnight ago, having won his previous two outings and never able to get competitive under Sam Hitchcott, who maintains the partnership.

The only Thoroughbred race is a very competitive 2200m handicap, the final race on the card. Mullen rides Fivehundredmiles for Satish Seemar and he looks sure to go close, along with Emirates Airline, to be ridden by Fresu for Erwan Charpy.