29 January 2016, Abu Dhabi ~ Owner HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Al Asayl-based trainer Eric Lemartinel been enjoying a prolific spell and they combined with RB Rich Surprise (TH Richie (US) to lead close to home landing a 2200m handicap under Tadhg O’Shea.
“It was not a surprise for us as we thought he had a big chance,” said Lemartinel. “These conditions really suit him so we were pretty hopeful.”
O’Shea added: “He is a very straightforward horse to ride which makes my job a lot easier. He does hit a bit of a flat spot and need cajoling but is a nice, versatile horse that also goes well on dirt, stays further and has the pace for shorter!”
Champion Jockey O’Shea victorious in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners Only 1600m handicap aboard MH Tawag (Bibi De Carrere) trained by Elise Jeanne was still on a high from having celebrated a Group One victory with Faucon Du Loup in the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 on Thursday at Meydan.
Settled in behind the leaders, MH Tawag was asked to close on the home turn and, once sent to the front halfway up the straight, never looked likely to be caught.
“It has been a very special few days and a great achievement for a small stable,” said Jeanne. “We only have about 25 horses, including six Thoroughbreds and to be winning races during this part of the season is just brilliant for everyone. Hopefully we have a lot to look forward to and the Kahayla Classic is certainly the target for Faucon Du Loup.”
The opening 1400m maiden was won by Al Tiryaq (Bibi De Carrere(FR) trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi, that was never far off the pace under Sam Hitchcott’s forst ride on him on his third career start. First turf race after two sprint runs on dirt at Sharjah, he stayed on strongly here to land the spoils in a driving finish.
“He has stayed on really strongly having travelled pretty well throughout most of the race,” said Hitchcott. “The switch to turf and longer trip have both really seemed to suit him.”
Prolific two seasons ago when winning no less than six times for Eric Lemartinel, Ain Jaloot (Amer), now in the capable care of Musabbeh Al Mheiri, won for the first time since that spell in March of 2015, landing the 1200m handicap, ironically defeating the Lemartinel-trained Molahen El Alhan.
Breaking the track record here, he has only had six starts in between victories and Jara said: “He was always going well and took me there strongly but the second fought back well so he had to dig deeply. There have been few opportunities for him lately but this was a good one for him and he has won nicely.”
The finale, a second and better quality 1600m handicap, produced a change of luck for trainer Erwan Charpy who, after two seconds earlier on the card, finally registered a winner with Cheik Roque (DAahess (GB) landing the spoils under Antonio Fresu.
“We deserved better fortune after a couple of seconds earlier so it is nice to get a winner,” said Charpy. “This is a nice horse but he just does the minimum required, be it at home or at the races so he has been hard to get fit.”
Fresu added: “He has been a bit disappointing in his three previous starts this season but has bounced back to form well this evening.”
As illustrated through his Thursday evening Dubai World Cup Carnival 1-2 at Meydan, trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer has his team in fine form and the wins kept coming at Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Bin Ghadayer landed the only Thoroughbred race on Abu Dhabi’s card, a 2400m handicap when Royston Ffrench, was never too far off the pace on Hunters Creek owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
“I was injured in a stalls incident and missed almost two months so it is great to be back in action,” said Ffrench. “He did this well enough tonight and these are his favored conditions.”
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