Ernst Oertel hopes that a tactical change in the riding and a good draw can contribute to Seraphin Du Paon's title defence of the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the Arabian showpiece and traditional opener of the Dubai World Cup meeting.
The six-year-old chestnut son of Akbar was beaten in his last two starts behind Nieshan but Oertel is confident of turning around those results in the Group 1 race run over 2,000 metres.
"He was too far behind and had too much to do in his last start, nevertheless ran a good race to finish six lengths behind the winner," said Oertel, a South African who saddled 16 winners in his debut season in the UAE.
"We will adopt a different tactic and race him close to those setting the early pace. It is a wide-open race this year, with Nieshan being the horse to beat. But I am hopeful of Seraphin's chances."
Oertel also fancies his other entry, Fryvolous, the 2009 winner.
"He seems to be getting back to his best and we expect him to run a big race, as well," Oertel said of the nine-year-old son of Dormane.
Nieshan, last year's runner-up behind Seraphin Du Paon, has not put a foot wrong in the lead-up to the race and Eric Lemartinel, his handler, has confidence similar to that of Oertel when discussing his two entries, Nieshan and Albar Lotois.
"Nieshan is in the form of his life," Lemartinel said. "He has won his last three starts in exemplary style and hopefully he will run another good race. It is going to be a hard race with so many good horses."
Qatar poses a strong challenge to the local entries as they return in full force following Jaafer's victory in 2010.
TM Fred Texas, the 2011 Purebred Arabian Horse of the Year, a prize presented by the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival Darley Awards, spearheads the challenge along with the Al Mujahaz and Harran ASF.
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