x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Lahib to be centre of attraction

The Frenchman is double-handed in the conditions race with the six-year-old joined by last year's third place, Shadiyda, in the President's Cup for Purebred Arabians.

The trainer Eric Lemartinel's bid to win the President's Cup for the Purebred Arabians is bolstered by his latest acquisition, Lahib, in tonight's Prep race at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. The Frenchman is double-handed in the conditions race with the six-year-old by Kairouan De Jos and last year's President's Cup third, Shadiyda, both in the silks of the Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.

Lahib, rated as the best in the 16-runner field, is the first choice of the stable according to the riding arrangements with the Bahrain-based French jockey Gerald Avranche. "Lahib comes with a tall reputation and has not done anything wrong since arriving in November," said Lemartinel. "He has trained well and seems to have adapted well to the new environment. He has trained separately from Shadiyda, who has been on a light work since his second in the National Day Cup last month."

Lahib was unplaced in his last two starts, both in Group 1 company including his last run on the Arc Day at Longchamp, France. In contrast, Shadiyda should have benefited from two excellent runs in defeat to the stable companion and the champion mare Mizzna, both over the inadequate mile distance. "Shadyda will definitely be better over the longer distance and Lahib has class but comes for his first run in more than three months. They will both run their own races and let the better one win on the night," added Lemartinel.

The pick of the challengers is the Erwan Charpy-trained G1 Emirates Championship winner Remarkable Man, who heads the seven entries of the owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid and the choice of the retained jockey Richard Hills. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae