November 9, 2013, Abu Dhabi ~ Sunday November 10 Features Sheikha Fatima Ladies World Championship
Abu Dhabi’s opening meeting of the season offers something for everyone on Sunday November 10 with the Dh150,000 ($41,000) HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup as well as the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak EARS apprentice race and a female jockeys’ championship.
The HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, a 1600m contest, holds Prestige status and 12 have been declared including Group 1 winner Albar Lotois.
Trained by Eric Lemartinel, he won the middle round of the Maktoum Challenge at Meydan last season, setting a track record in the process. That was over 2200m but he has won three times over 1600m. Gerald Avranche takes the ride.
Avranche said: “Albar Lotois has been a great servant to the yard and this is a good race to start him off as he is probably better over further now.”
Last year’s winner, Areem, was saddled by Majed Al Jahouri who has three in the race this year, including Thakif, just touched off in the Group 1 Liwa Oasis on his final start last season. He is the mount of Dane O’Neill, while stable companion and local debutant, Rabbah De Carrere, having only his third career start, should not be underestimated under Royston Ffrench.
On his best form, the Saifaldin Deeb-trained Sahib Du Clos, a multiple Group 1 winner, would go close but he disappointed last season.
Racing concludes with another 1600m Prestige contest, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies’ World Championship (IFAHR) and 14 are set to face the starter.
Champion Trainer Oertel saddles three of whom the veteran Fryvolous, a former National Day Cup and Kahayla Classic winner, looks a main chance after being dropped significantly in class. He will be ridden by Stephanie Hofer, a professional jockey from Germany.
Lemartinel saddles Theoretically who should go well under English professional, Jemma Marshall, with the Al Jahouri pair of Aakif and Ghalib perhaps leading the opposition. The former is the mount of Carolina Brunaud, a French amateur, with compatriot and fellow amateur, Marie Rollando on the stablemate.
Eleven apprentices take part in HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak EARS Apprentice Jockey Race, a 2200m conditions event. The local representative, Saeed Al Mazrooei, seeking his 11th UAE winner, appears to have fared well in the draw and rides Omani raider, Mudalal.
Al Mazrooei said: “It is a great privilege to represent the UAE here at Abu Dhabi and hopefully we will go very close as he is a decent horse.”
Marc Monaghan is another familiar face to the UAE, having ridden nine winners since joining Satish Seemar last season. He rides Ma’Error W’Rsan for Jaci Wickham. “These races are good fun and it is great to be riding for Ireland on a track I have some experience of,” said the young Irishman.
Local knowledge may help them but they are facing some very experienced competition, including Canadian Amie Pooli (113 wins) and Italian Antonio Fresu (166 wins). They ride Kalid’Or for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and Swyft for Ernst Oertel respectively but appear to face an uphill climb against better class horses.
The only Thoroughbred race is a 1600m handicap and last year’s winner, Maath Gool, second, Musaafer and fourth, Mujrayaat, all clash again.
Maath Gool has since left Musabah Al Muhairi, who trains Musaafer and joined Doug Watson who also saddles Mujrayaat.
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