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Abu Dhabi Closes 2014-15 Season with Group 1 Emirates Championship for Purebred Arabians

Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club stage their final meeting of the season on Sunday, is highlighted by the 2200m Group 1 Emirates Championship for the Purebred Arabians and the course`s biggest Thoroughbred race of the campaign, the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship over the same course and distance. A new name is guaranteed on the trophy in each race, with no previous winners in either contest, which both appear competitive this year, especially the Emirates Championship.

Ten have been declared for the Group 1 Purebred Arabian race with Salem Al Ketbi, fresh from a treble at Al Ain on Friday, responsible for three of them.

Stable jockey, Tadhg O`Shea, who rode all three of the trainer`s Al Ain winners, chooses to ride Shayel Aldhabi, one of five mares in the field who all receive weight from their male rivals.

"She had a great first season in the UAE the campaign before last," said O`Shea. "She won four times before being stepped up in class and was not disgraced.

"She ran well in plenty of these Group 1 contests last year without enjoying much luck and produced her best run this season last time, over this 2200m in HH The President`s Cup and was staying on nicely.

"She certainly proved she stays this trip and she should run well in what looks an open renewal."

Al Ketbi also saddles Nymphea Du Paon, the mount of Shane Karlsson and Skoop, who will be ridden by Adrie De Vries. The Latter was just behind Shayel Aldhabi last time with Nymphea Du Paon well beaten in the same race. All three are owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Majed Al Jahouri Saddled Thakif to win HH The President`s Cup, a third Consecutive win in the race for the trainer and his main patron, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Interestingly, they rely on just one runner this year, namely Haanoof for whom Pat Dobbs is an interesting jockey booking. He was well beaten in HH The President`s Cup on his final outing for Yousef Al Bloushi and fared little better on his first start for Al Jahouri in the concluding round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan on Super Saturday last weekend.

Connections have reached for a first time visor to sharpen him up.

Trainer Eric Lemartinel and Jockey Wayne Smith have already combined for Group 1 success this year, landing the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge with Bigg N Rich. They combine with Manan, twice a course and distance winner and capable of a big run with the yard in good form. The Thoroughbred equivalent, the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship, has Attracted a field of 13 with Sanshaawes, trained by South African Mike De Kock, looking the one to beat in a race his trainer will not with Mr Brock in two thousand and nine.

A dual Dubai World Cup Carnival winner in 2014, he has failed to get his head in front this year but it was only 50 weeks ago he was contesting the world`s richest horse race, the $ 10million Dubai World Cup.

He was fifth in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday this year and a repeat of that would see him go very close.

His wide draw may not be ideal but his jockey, Gerald Avranche, rides Abu Dhabi as well as anybody and his mount may just have a touch more class than his 12 rivals.

De Kock said: "This looks a good spot for him; as things stand he is not likely to earn an invitation for Dubai World Cup night so hopefully he can pick up this decent prize. "

Dhruba Selvaratnam saddles Dormello who could provide the main opposition after bouncing back to winning ways at Jebel Ali on his previous start, just over three weeks ago.

He was a notable absentee from a conditions race back at Jebel Ali last Friday with the trainer aiming at this.

"He is fit and well," said Selvaratnam. "Looking at the form, Sanshaawes is the one to beat; that was a big run last time behind Hunter`s Light in the Jebel Hatta.

"We have had this race in mind for a while and decided to give him an extra week between races so did not run at Jebel Ali last week."