Oertel Saddles Three in Abu Dhabi`s Featured Handicap

Ernst Oertel looks to hold a particularly strong hand in Sunday`s featured 1,600m handicap at Abu Dhabi and will saddle three of the nine runners for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The booking of Tadgh O`Shea for Time Out suggests he is the stable`s first string.

He has the benefit of a run this season when fifth in a decent contest won by Areem a fortnight ago and O’Shea said: “That was a reasonable comeback and he won the National Day Cup prep over course and distance last year. I actually won on him at Nad Al sheba four years ago and it is his first run in a handicap since January 2009 and he has kept good company ever since.

“It looks a competitive little race but hopefully he will go well.”

James Doyle and Daragh O`Donohoe ride stable companions Frynchman and Frysk Me Now respectively to complete the Oertel-trained trio and they too are dropping back into handicaps having been highly tried.

Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe does not have that many Purebred Arabians but he has a good one in the shape of Mestor who won half of his local starts last season and will be ridden by regular partner, Royston Ffrench. This will be his first run in handicap company.

Gill Duffield saddles Takaamul whose best form is over further but stamina could be crucial in a race which looks certain to be contested at a furious early gallop with several front-runners in opposition.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card is the concluding 2,200m handicap and 14 have been declared including Carnival regular Kal Barg who will be having a rare turf excursion having raced predominantly on the all-weather in recent years. James Doyle will be sporting the famous yellow silks of Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for trainer, Dhruba Selvaratnam and said: “He had one turf run at the 2011 Carnival off a mark of 104 and is now down to 95 giving him this opportunity.

“He will have come on for that Meydan run the other day and can hopefully go well but we have an awful draw in 14.”

Dr Faustus is another returning to turf off a much lower mark than when he last encountered it and could pose a threat under Pat Dobbs for Doug Watson, while Royaaty caught the eye running on strongly over 2,000m at Meydan at their first meeting. Adrie De Vries rides for Mubarak bin Shafya.

Al Raihe introduces an interesting local debutant in the shape of Tmaam who won once in the UK when trained by Mark Johnston. He looks an interesting new recruit, as does Calgacus, the only 3yo in the field and who will be having his first start for Erwan Charpy.

He was last seen when contesting the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on his fourth and final start in Ireland. Champion Jockey Tadhg O`Shea is the retained rider for his new main employer Thistle Bloodstock. He said: “He is a nice young horse who worked well the other day and we are going to find out a lot about him against some proven older handicappers.”