Ernst Oertel earns himself Christmas gift with treble at Abu Dhabi racetrack
Bernardo Pinheiro wins aboard AF Al Montaqem before Antonio Fresu clinches double atop AF Makerah and AF Motaghatres as owner Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah caps successful night
Christmas came early for Ernst Oertel after the trainer saddled three winners at the Abu Dhabi racetrack on Sunday.
Bernardo Pinheiro, aboard AF Al Montaqem, set the ball rolling for Oertel in the first race. Antonio Fresu then accomplished the double by winning atop AF Makerah and AF Motaghatres.
The three wins, all on behalf of patron Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, took Oertel's season tally to 18 – one more than Eric Lemartinel. Al Naboodah, the leading owner for the season, now has 20 victories under his belt.
“Khalid is able to breed such good horses in this country," Oertel said. "He puts in a lot of effort, money and pride in what he does – and it’s paying off. He deserves it.”
Pinheiro aboard AF Montaqem lost the lead before regaining it in the final 100 metres of the opening race to win by more than three lengths from stable companion Daana under Sam Hitchcott.
“I kept him on the rails for most of the race and he got overtaken on the back straight,” Pinheiro said. “Then I had to wait for a gap to open. And when it did, I got him on the outside and he just took off.
"I was told he was a bit of a lazy horse and needed to keep pushing. He won very well at the end, though.”
Shortly after making all on AF Makerah in the fourth race, Fresu found himself in middle of the most thrilling action of the night when he guided AF Motaghatres to a memorable win in Race 5. He pipped Ben Curtis on Musabah Al Muhairi's AF Momtaz and Tadhg O’Shea atop AF Asheham – also saddled by Oertel – by a nose and neck.
All three horses are owned by Al Naboodah.
Jaci Wickham, one of the longest-serving trainers in the UAE, celebrated her first win of the season when Daber W’Rsan clinched the night's second race under Connor Beasley.
Beasley produced a terrific late run on the four-year-old son of Heir Apparentt to clinch the prize from the Irfan Ellahi-trained Jap Al Afreet with Brett Doyle on board.
Fabrice Veron steered the Lemartinel-trained Bainoona to victory in the third race. Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s Tafaakhor, under Ronan Whelan, won the only prize for the thoroughbreds in the concluding handicap.
Updated: December 24, 2018 07:29 AM