Abu Dhabi to close UAE horse racing season in style with packed card

The penultimate meeting of the UAE season before Saturday’s Dubai World Cup night has an enthralling card with a prize fund of more than Dh2 million across six races.

Tadhg O'Shea will partner Mahbooba at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday. Delores Johnson / The National
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ABU DHABI // The penultimate meeting of the UAE season before Saturday’s Dubai World Cup night has an enthralling card with a prize fund of more than Dh2 million across six races.

The Dh1m Group 1 Emirates Championship is the highlight of Sunday’s meeting at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. The Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship — the solitary race for the thoroughbreds — the UAE Arabian Derby and Round 3 of the Arabian Triple Crown are also on the card.

Eric Lemartinel has a strong hand in the feature race with five entries from the nine in the race run over the 2,200 metres.

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Of his entries, Tadhg O’Shea, the four-time UAE champion jockey, retains the ride on Mahbooba. She is a winner of five of her nine starts of which three have been over the course and distance.

She will be pressed hard by her stable companions Abhaar under Gerald Avranche and Abu Alabyad, the mount of Richard Mullen, the winner and third respectively in the race 12 months ago.

“The start is going to be key,” said O’Shea. “For some reason, she has messed around in the stalls the last twice and subsequently missed the break which, when competing at this level, takes a lot to overcome.

“She is a very smart mare and, hopefully, can break on terms, in which case we have a big chance in a race the team at Al Asayl hold a very strong hand indeed.”

Dormello will be attempting to become the first horse to win the Abu Dhabi Championship twice. The nine year old won the Group 3 prize in 2015 and was fourth 12 months ago.

“He seems in good order and has been working well,” trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam said.

Satish Seemar saddles two in the race with Carbon Dating, the mount of O’Shea, and Farrier, the winner of the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes on his last outing, ridden by Mullen.

apassela@thenational.ae

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