x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Leading trainer-jockey duo in search of win amid dry spell

Oertel and O’Shea eye return to victory with several entries

ABU DHABI // Ernst Oertel and Tadhg O’Shea, the UAE champion trainer and jockey combination, return to the capital’s racecourse after drawing a blank for the first time in four meetings last week.

The South African trainer has nine horses entered across five of the six races on Sunday, with the stable jockey O’Shea on-board five of them. The Irish rider is also booked on Jameel Salman’s Tha’Er in the Al Wathba Stud Farm Cup for the private stables and owners in Abu Dhabi’s fifth meeting.

The second race, a handicap rated for horses 0-85 run over 1,400 metres, is the most valuable prize for Purebred Arabians on the card, and Chick Flick is O’Shea’s choice from Oertel’s trio.

The five-year-old grey mare is making her first outing since rounding off the previous season with back-to-back victories.

O’Shea will ride Munzade half an hour later and Nemrah, a winner on its debut over the course and distance three weeks ago, from Oertel’s runners in the fourth race.

He rides Dormilon in the meeting’s opener and Malekov in the concluding race for thoroughbreds, the highlight of the six-race card.

Doug Watson, who is fresh from saddling a double at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, looks to hold the strongest claim on the thoroughbred prize with three entries.

Pat Dobbs, who rode both of the trainer’s winners that day, will partner with Mantoba, a course winner over 2,200m in January.

The five-year-old bay son of Noverre finished in fourth place on his seasonal debut behind stable companion Udabaa, who is again in opposition and is the choice of Paul Hanagan, the retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.

Dr Faustus, ridden by Sam Hitchcott, completes Watson’s trio.

“All my three must have a chance,” Watson said. “Dr Faustus has not had a run this year, which would be a concern, but he is as fit as we can get him without a run. He has been going well at home but does tend to need his first start back.

“Udabaa won nicely last time and remains in good form, and we have always liked Mantoba. When things go his way he is a very useful horse, and these conditions really suit him. I expect all three to run big races and it is hard to split them.”

Musabah Al Muhairi has two entries, and they will both wear the silks of Sheikh Hamdan, who is the leading owner for thoroughbreds.

Dane O’Neill, the owner’s second jockey, will be on-board Tanfeeth, while stable jockey Wayne Smith, who was due to ride Rasmy, is facing a lengthy absence from the track after breaking his collarbone at Jebel Ali on Friday.

Sheikh Hamdan’s fourth runner, Amaan, is trained by Erwan Charpy and will be ridden by apprentice jockey Noel Garbutt, who earned his first victory of the season aboard Crackdown at Jebel Ali this week.

Achill Bay, a course and distance winner in November 2010 and second in this race in 2011, represents the Satish Seemar/Richard Mullen combination, who have been enjoying a great recent run.

Race card

5pm Maiden

5.30pm Handicap (rated 0-85)

6pm Conditions

6.30pm Handicap for fillies and mares (0-70)

7pm Al Wathba Stud Farm Cup

7.30pm Handicap (80-100)

apassela@thenational.ae