12 December 2015, Al Ain, UAE ~ Eric Lemartinel dominated the second meeting of the Al Ain season on 12 December by sending out three winners. The Al Asayl based trainer topped off the day by saddling the first three home in the feature Jebel Hafeet Handicap (1800m).
Jockey Tadhg O’Shea landed the first spot on Madjanthat passing stable companion Najm Alemarat and Gerald Avranche at the 200m pole with RB Rich Surprise, under Royston Ffrench, running on for third.
All three carried the red and white colours of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and it was a second course and distance victory for Madjanthat, whose other career win was also achieved at Al Ain on the previous all-weather surface over 1400m.
“The race was run at a steady gallop,” said O’Shea. “Getting weight from Najm Alemarat was the key to my decision to ride him and he has plenty of ability. That said, he also has a few quirks and he nearly unshipped me on the way to the post. You may remember he did unseat me as the stalls opened once the season before last. As he matures you would like to think there is more in the tank.”
Madjanthat broke the track record in the process.
Owner and trainer immediately secured a double when the Avranche ridden Al Dheeb scored in the 1600m maiden. It was a winning debut and a convincing success after a tardy start from Avranche’s mount.
“He is a nice horse for the future we think,” said Avranche. “He is a big type and will certainly improve physically and mentally for this experience.”
The meeting concluded with a second 1400m handicap after which Sheikh Khalifa and Lemartinel were celebrating a treble and Avranche a double when RB Inferno greeted the judge.
Freshman trainer Veronica Aske was on the score sheet again when Latifa Princess made it two wins from as many starts prevailing by a length in the opening 1400m handicap.
Arguably one of the easiest winners of the campaign thus far when making all in a 1000m Al Ain handicap just over three weeks ago, Latifa Princess had to work a bit harder on this occasion but still won with a something in hand. Sam Hitchcott was again in the saddle and the combination led pretty much from the outset.
“She won very well last time and we were pretty hopeful today,” said Aske. “She had won over 1400m before, on her debut just over three years ago, but the trip was a bit of a concern today. She clearly loves it here and is in great form so we will try to find another opportunity for her with her versatility regarding trip a bonus. She has not been the most consistent and does not particularly travel well to the races so we will stay here, where she is trained, and probably drop back to 1000m.”
Nacer Samiri has also made a bright start to his UAE training career and combined with rider Wayne Smith to land the 1800m maiden with Hamares, having only his second career start.
Ridden by Smith on his debut, Hamares had failed to beat a rival but that was over 1600m on turf at Abu Dhabi and he always looked to be going well here. Sent to the front halfway down the long straight, Hamares never looked likely to be denied.
“He was exceptionally green the last time,” said Smith. “And even going down to the start today he showed his inexperience. He is basically a big baby who will only improve and should stay further.”
It was a case of third time lucky for Ghaith losing his maiden tag with a hard-fought success in a 1600m conditions contest. Trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, Ghaith led early in the straight, only to be headed briefly by Barq Al Reef before fighting back under Szczepan Mazur to lead again inside the final 200m.
The only Thoroughbred race was a 1000m handicap and Paul Hanagan, who rode a winner from three rides on his return to the UAE at Jebel Ali on Friday, doubled his tally for the campaign with the last gasp success of Dairam.
~ end press release