Frenchman has trio of Al Asayl horses entered in Listed Abu Dhabi Championship - key race at capital’s racecourse on Sunday
Eric Lemartinel teams up with Tadhg O’Shea again as trainer eyes hat-trick of wins in Abu Dhabi
Al Asayl trainer Eric Lemartinel has a trio of horses entered in the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship, the highlight of the six-race card in the capital’s racecourse on Sunday.
The Frenchman is attempting to win the prize for a third successive time on a racetrack that has proved to be a happy hunting ground for him as well as jockey Tadhg O’Shea over the past three years.
O’Shea, the first-choice jockey for the Abu Dhabi-based stables when he is not riding for Grandstand Stables trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe, has chosen Asyyad among the trio.
“Again I was faced with a very difficult choice and the Al Asayl team certainly have three good chances,” the Irishman said.
O’Shea explained his rationale behind choosing Asyyad ahead of Jaahiz, a course and distance winner in his first career start, and RB Grynade, whom he rode to victory in Al Ain last week.
“The other pair have both won but Asyyad showed a lot of promise - after a slow start - on his one outing and has a lot of potential," he said. "Hopefully I picked right, but all three are capable of running big races in an open contest."
Jesus Rosales retains the ride on Jaahiz and Gerald Avranche partners RB Grynade in the 15-runner race for three-year-olds over the 1,600-metre distance.
Ernst Oertel has five entered, all in the silks of Emirati owner and breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, and on the jockey’s booking Shareef KB appears to be his main hope.
However Lemartinel’s runners are expected to face stiff challenges from Al Ajban Stables’ Emirati trainer Abdullah Al Hammadi.
Garnishh (ridden by Sam Hitchcock) and Goshawke (under Fernando Jara) will have to deal with wide draws, Gates 12 and 14 respectively, while Glory Day under Royston Ffrench will run out of Stall 3.
Garnishh was beaten by a neck on his racecourse debut and finished behind RB Grynade in his next start both over the course and distance.
Goshawke was third to Jaahiz in his only start and Glory Day, too, has the benefit of a run when finishing runner-up behind Galiba over 1,400m at the Abu Dhabi Racecourse.
The Abu Dhabi Fillies and Colts Classics - both holding 'Prestige' status - are the main supporting races on the card, with Lemartinel double-handed in the former and sending three horses out in the latter.
O’Shea partners Ras Esina, a winner on her racecourse debut five weeks ago, in the Fillies Classic. Avranche is atop the other - Darajat, who is making her first appearance on a racecourse.
Omani trainer Younis Al Kalbani’s Ghazayel will be the one to watch, being the most experienced horse in the 16-runner field race and having won three of her five starts.
O’Shea rides Mushairib of Lemartinel’s trio in the Colts equivalent in the next. He has two runs under his belt, finishing sixth on his debut at Sharjah and third in Abu Dhabi in his next start.
Godolphin makes a rare appearance in Abu Dhabi in the solitary race for the thoroughbreds.
Ennjaaz was well beaten on his local and dirt debut, and Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has brought the three-year-old to have go on the capital’s turf track.