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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

RB Torch 'should be competitive' in Group 3 Al Ruwais sprint, says jockey Tadhg O’Shea

Eric Lemartinel-trained chestnut son of TH Ritchie carries a penalty into the 1,200 metre race at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club

Jockey Tadhg O'Shea with RB Torch after a victory at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in January 2017. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Jockey Tadhg O'Shea with RB Torch after a victory at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in January 2017. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

RB Torch heads a small but quality field in the Group 3 Al Ruwais sprint over 1,200 metres at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

Stepping up to Group 1 level proved a tall order for the Eric Lemartinel-trained chestnut son of TH Ritchie as he finished a long way behind Paddy’s Day in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 at Meydan on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on January 11. Prior to that, he won both his starts this season: the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Prep race in Abu Dhabi and the Group 2 Baniyas at Meydan ahead of Cakouet De Bozouls, whom he meets for the third time.

“He is a good horse who should be competitive,” said Tadhg O’Shea, the jockey on-board the seven-year-old in that Baniyas, a 1,600m Conditions race, meaning RB Torch carries a penalty in the Al Ruwais sprint.

“Obviously the penalty makes the task a bit more difficult against some decent performers, but if things fall right for him he should be thereabouts in an open race.”

Cakouet De Bozouls has improved with every local start after tailing off in the €1.2 million (Dh5.4 million) Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, the world’s richest race for Purebred Arabians, last November.

Rmmas is another sure to be in the reckoning in the six-runner field. Trained by Jean de Roualle, the five-year-old son of Mahabb comes into the race on the back of a victory on his home dirt track in Al Ain.

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Richard Mullen, the UAE champion jockey who rode Rmmas to bring up his 400th winner in the Emirates, retains the ride.

“He is a nice, young horse who we really like,” said De Roualle. “Returning to turf is certainly not an issue and we hope he will cope well with the drop in trip. We are hopeful of a good run.”

The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Gold Cup, afforded Prestige status and over 1,600m for locally bred horses, is the main support event on the six-race card.

It has also drawn a select field of six with O’Shea riding the only filly, Ras Esina. She is trained by Lemartinel who also sends out Molahen El Alhan, the mount of Gerald Avranche.

Ernst Oertel saddles three with Silvestre de Sousa on AF Al Hazer, who was last seen when well beaten in the Group 1 Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night last March.

Stable companion AF Al Sajanjle, the mount of Antonio Fresu, should not be discounted.

The Abdallah Al Hammadi-trained Al Tiryaq under Sam Hitchcott is another with a big chance.

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RACECARD:

(Time, race, prize, distance)

5pm: Maiden Dh80,000 1,200m.

5.30pm: Maiden Dh80,000 1,600m.

6pm: Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Gold Cup Prestige Dh125,000 1,600m.

6.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap Dh80,000 1,600m.

7pm: Al Ruwais Group 3 Dh300,000 1,200m.

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh90,000 2,200m.