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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Asyyad makes hard work in giving Eric Lemartinel a hat-trick of Abu Dhabi Championship wins

Asyyad was boxed in at beginning of 1,600m race, and jockey Tadhg O'Shea had to weave through the field to get him back to front as race neared climax

Eric Lemartinel and Tadhg O'Shea combined to win in Abu Dhabi again - this time aboard Asyyad. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Eric Lemartinel and Tadhg O'Shea combined to win in Abu Dhabi again - this time aboard Asyyad. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Eric Lemartinel got his hat-trick of wins in the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday night, but Asyyad had to come from the back of the pack to give the trainer his success.

Asyyad was boxed in at the beginning of the 1,600-metre race for three-year-olds at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, and jockey Tadhg O'Shea had to weave through the field to get him back to the front as the race neared its climax.

Asyyad prevailed by a nose from Goshawke, ridden by Fernando Jara, to take the spoils and leave O'Shea reflecting on a hard night's work to triumph.

“We jumped very well but he just got squeezed out of it,” the winning rider said. “He’s very inexperienced having run only once and he’s done extremely well to win.

“My horse got into a lot of trouble on the night. After that start, I wanted to ride him through for the first half of the race.

“He had to make a lot of ground and at that point I was more concerned of a pathway through, but look, he’s a very good horse. And when the gaps came he went through them. He’s more value than the winning margin.”

With 15 runners jumping out of the gate, O’Shea had to virtually ride out for the first half of the race.

They were still some way behind as they came around the final bend but Asyyad kept going and had his nose in front as they flashed past the winning post.

“Mine is a very good horse come forward and he’s going to prove himself immensely,” O’Shea said of the chestnut colt.

“He’s a lovely big horse with a big action, and hopefully with time he’ll move upwards.”

Elsewhere in the night's action, Younis Al Kalbani, the Omani trainer, celebrated his first visit to the UAE when Ghazayel romped home to victory in the opening Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic, a contest for three year olds bred in the UAE.

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Ridden by Omani apprentice Saif Al Balushi, Ghazayel was an impressive winner by two and three-quarter lengths from AF Sharesah under Antonio Fresu.

“We bought her as a foal from the UAE and she won three of her five starts in Muscat,” the winning fillies’ owner Mohammed Shihab Al Balushi said.

“We thought of running her in this race in Abu Dhabi and after this result we certainly would like to make a few more trips here in the near future. This was certainly a stand-out performance from her and the first time on turf.”

Connor Beasley rode MH Rahal to an all the way victory in the Colts Classic half an hour later from the Ernst Oertel-trained pair AF Motaghatres and AF Al Bairaq.

“He’s winning for the second time in three starts and we would like to think he’s got potential to improve with age,” his trainer Elise Jeanne said.

“The bar was raised in this race but he did it well. We have no plans for him but we’ll see how he has come out of this race.”

Fernando Jara, the 2007 winning jockey of the Dubai World Cup, scooped the remaining three prizes for three different trainers.

The Panamanian jockey steered Oertel’s Noof KB to victory in the fourth race, won the next on Al Shabab for the Emirati trainer Ahmed Al Mehairbi and completed the hat-trick on Mustahdaf for his retained Oasis Stables trainer Maria Ritchie.

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