11 February 2017, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club stages one of its biggest meetings of the season on Sunday when it is HH The President Cup day with the Purebred Arabian version a 2200m Group 1 contest worth 3 million dirhams ($817,000).
Five of the dozen declared runners are trained by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, electing to ride Mahbooba, winner of the course and distance prep three weeks ago.
“She is a very nice, young mare who seems to be improving all the time,” said O’Shea. “This is a strong race, as you would expect for the money but we are certainly expecting a big run from her. I think Loraa and Sniper De Monlau could be the main dangers.”
The team’s second string would appear to be Abu Alabyad, the mount of Gerald Avranche second in the prep but winner of this race in 2015 and second last year. Mahbooba has only suffered one career defeat and that was at the hands of the aforementioned Sniper De Monlau but she also beat him twice last season.
Trained by Helal Al Alawi, Sniper De Monlau tends not to run in a straight line on the home turn and drifts markedly to the outside rail. He did so in each of his five Abu Dhabi starts last season and, perhaps less so, at Al Ain when winning his seasonal return.
Both tracks are right-handed so it was then hoped running left-handed at Meydan would suit him but, sadly for connections, he did the same thing. Royston Ffrench, who has ridden him in each of his four most recent outings, is again assigned the task of trying to keep him straight.
Richard Mullen rides Loraa, trained by Jean de Roualle and another nominated by O’Shea as a big danger. A Group 1 winner in France, she has only had two starts locally and was third, behind Mahbooba, in the trial. She looked likely to improve, fitness wise, from that outing and should not be far away.
Mullen, in his role as stable jockey to Satish Seemar, faced a very tricky dilemma in the 1400m Listed version of HH The President Cup with the yard responsible for half of the 16 runners. The jockey, understandably, has opted for Akeed Champion, twice a course and distance winner this season, including the prep three weeks ago.
Dhruba Selvaratnam introduces Haalick to local action and, the mount of Chris Hayes, he looks an interesting new recruit.
Winner of the Listed Spring Cup on the Lingfield all-weather last March, he is entitled to need this first run since June but looks a horse to keep an eye on with regards to future assignments.
~ end supplied report