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Treble for Lemartinel in Abu Dhabi

Racing returned to the UAE on Sunday evening with a six race card at Abu Dhabi featuring the HH Sheikh Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies` IFAHR Cup, an invitational race for amateur lady riders over 1600m.

The last race on the card, it saw 12 ladies from 12 different countries competing over 1600m on Purebred Arbians and went to Swedish rider Tina Henriksson on the Eric Lemartinel-trained Naseem Al Reef who is owned by the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

The reigning Fegentri World Champion, Henriksson put her vast experience to good use to land the prize and said: "It really has been a great night at a great place. We have all had a lot of fun and to ride the winner here in Abu Dhabi is brilliant.

"The trainer, Mr Lemartinel, sounded quite hopeful and he was proved right."

Sadly, Germany`s Berit Weber, was left to watch when her mount, Quite A Show, refused to load.

Frenchman Lemartinel, as he often does on his local track, dominated proceedings and provided compatriot Gerald Avranche with a double as the trainer won half of the six races. Albar Lotois landed the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Prestige Cup, also over 1600m with Mooser having earlier won the 1400m handicap.

Albar Lotois has genuine Group One form to his name, as did a few of his rivals but he did well to win his race considering the trip is probably short of his optimum.

Avranche was impressed: "I was a bit worried that 1600m was too short but the horse really improved last season and has hopefully continued to do so. It has been a good night."

Lemartinel added: "To get the first winner of the season is always a relief so to get three is better than we could have hoped. It is a great start and we have to hope we can continue it!"

Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddled three runners in the only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1600m handicap and it was his Mutual Force who prevailed in a close finish, just holding on from the fast finishing Al Burkaan.

Apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei rode the winner and said: "I could not be more pleased than to make a winning start and am grateful to everyone for these opportunities."

The meeting opened with two 1300m maidens and Ernst Oertel wasted no time in opening his local account by saddling Kalahari Desert to win the first, for colts and geldings, under Pat Cosgrave.

He looked like doubling up in the fillies` equivalent when his Alawal Walakeer hit the front under Michael Hills but she had no answer to the late challenge of Carlos Sandoval on Um Dormane for trainer Mohammed Al Ketbi.