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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 January 2019

Forjatt becomes third horse to twice win Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup

Jockey thrilled after his horse becomes first horse to regain title after winning it in 2015

Trained by Nicholas Bachalard, left, Forjatt won the title race under jockey Chris Hayes on Sunday night. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Trained by Nicholas Bachalard, left, Forjatt won the title race under jockey Chris Hayes on Sunday night. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Forjatt became only the third horse to win the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup twice at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday.

He joined Emirates Gold and Jaasoos, both of whom won the race when it was called Listed National Day Cup. Forjatt, who won it in 2015, became the first horse to regain the prize since it was founded in 1993. Emirates Gold (2007 and 2008) and Jaasoos (2009 and 2010) had both retained the title.

Chris Hayes was aboard Forjatt, at the time trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam, when he won it in 2015. He was the winning jockey again, although Forjatt is currently being handled by Nicholas Bachalard.

Bachalard is in his first season as Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid’s retained trainer at Jebel Ali Stables.

Hayes gave Forjatt the perfect ride after coming out of Gate 2. He raced along the rails in mid-division before switching to the outside, and collared the long-time leader Jaaref, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and ridden by Olivier Doleuze, to win by half a length.

“He is a very brave horse for his age,” Hayes said of the 10-year-old gelded son of Iffraaj. “He jumped and travelled really strong behind others, and racing on the rails I had to wait for the gaps to appear.

"Thankfully it came at the right time and we got through.”

Mohammed Al Shehhi, racing manager for the Jebel Ali Stables, said it took great team effort to get Forjatt into good shape for this race.

Al Shehhi called Forjatt, who has now won 11 of his 45 career starts and finished either second or third 19 times, "a great servant at the stables".

"It was a very nice race to win in the Year of Zayed,” he added.

But Al Shehhi conceded they were initially thinking of retiring him after the race. "But after this race, we’ll have to rethink because the jockey said he will improve from this race," he said.

"Sheikh Ahmed will take the final call on him.”

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Jockey Fabrice Veron guided RB Torch to victory to give trainer Eric Lemartinel a double on the night. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Jockey Fabrice Veron guided RB Torch to victory to give trainer Eric Lemartinel a double on the night. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Meanwhile, Fabrice Veron guided the Eric Lemartinel-trained RB Torch from out of the reserve list to claim the Purebred Arabian equivalent from AF Mahshoum, another Al Raihe-trained horse ridden by Dane O’Neill.

“He’s a tough horse, and when he came with a run from the two-furlong marker, I thought he can make it,” Lemartinel said of the seven-year-old son of TH Richie.

“We were lucky he got to race after the withdrawal of another horse. RB Torch is a full brother to RB Burn [a multiple Group 1 winner] and he has lots of abilities.

“He’s very good on his work in the mornings, but for some reason he doesn’t run his best all the time in the races. Tonight he appeared to be in one his good moods.”

Lemartinel completed a double after stable jockey Pat Cosgrave won the opening race atop Eghel De Pine.

Updated: December 9, 2018 08:54 PM

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