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Takaamul Attempts Sixth UAE Victory for New Yard

Udabaa (IRE)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Former Gill Duffield Charge Has Abu Dhabi Start for Al Raihe

Sunday’s mainly Purebred Arabian Abu Dhabi meeting is highlighted by a good quality 2200m handicap and the maximum field of 14 will face the starter, including the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Takaamul.

Formerly trained by Gill Duffield, he has five UAE victories to his name, all at Abu Dhabi and four over this course and distance. He is owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, takes the ride.

“He ran well enough on his one start so far this season which was over 1600m at Meydan on the all-weather and Sunday’s conditions will suit him much more. He won his last outing in handicap company and should run well in a competitive race.”

He shares the burden of top-weight with Manan, trained by Eric Lemartinel and a course and distance winner in a similar race last time having achieved his other local win in November, also over 2200m at Abu Dhabi.

Qatar-based Gerald Avranche rides for his French compatriot and said: “The trip is ideal and he is at his best on turf certainly so conditions are in his favour. However, this looks a lot tougher test than his two wins so far this season.

“So I am probably more hopeful than confident.”

Stable companion Ibn Battuta Monlau, seeking a sixth course and distance victory, is another to consider with Ted Durcan in the saddle – though it should be noted Avranche has been in the saddle for those previous five wins.

Rookie trainer Yousef Al Bloushi saddles his first two runners on the card, including local debutant Haajeb in this race. Owned by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he is the mount of Harry Bentley who rode a remarkable six winners in Doha on Wednesday evening.

His mount here remains a maiden after eight starts though.

Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel saddles four in the race with Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea seemingly aboard the first string, Gali Rich, who is seeking a third win this season.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, the concluding handicap over the same 2200m, is a decent contest in its own right and 12 have been declared with five of them owned by Sheikh Hamdan. Hanagan chooses to ride Amaan, trained by Erwan Charpy and twice narrowly denied at Abu Dhabi this season.

The owner’s second retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, opts for the Doug Watson-trained Udabaa, twice an Abu Dhabi winner this season, including over this trip (Amaan was a close third).

Satish Seemar has a good record at Abu Dhabi this season and stable jockey, Richard Mullen, chooses to partner Moonlight Dash, having his first turf outing since February last year. This will only be his third grass run of his career and he will be hoping to go one better, having been second on both previous attempts.

Stable companion, Concordat, heads the weights under apprentice Marc Monaghan. This will be his sixth UAE start though and he has yet to finish closer than eighth, so Janood, to be ridden by Adrie De Vries for Ahmad bin Harmash, may be a bigger danger.