ABU DHABI // Eric Lemartinel won a double for the third time in three meetings at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club yesterday.
The French trainer saddled Dahes, ridden by Gerald Avranche to win the third race, the Um Al Nar Handicap, and then saw Tadgh O'Shea, the champion jockey, ride Chase Me to victory in the Al Wathba Stud Farm Cup.
It could have been a treble for the Frenchman, but O'Shea rode a fine race on the Gillian Duffield-trained Al Mannsoub to hold off Samira De Carrere, under Avranche, in the penultimate event of last night's six-race card.
O'Shea had Al Mannsoub well placed with the leading group and went clear as the field entered the home stretch. Avranche was left to make up more than eight lengths and the Djouras Tu filly was beaten by a head on the line.
"The horses are in good nick," said Lemartinel. "The season has got off to a pretty good start for me, particularly in Abu Dhabi. So I'm looking ahead to another good season."
O'Shea had Chase Me hard held behind Neferman, who took them along under Avranche, over the 2,200-metre trip. The two went clear and the Khoutoubia colt wore down his stable companion on the home stretch to win by a neck.
"He didn't have a good first run on his reappearance but it certainly seemed to have done a lot of good," O'Shea said of Chase Me.
"He had plenty left in the tank and showed a lot of speed when it came to a race to the line."
Avranche rode the first of Lemartinel's two winners as Dahes, the top weight, held off a late challenge from stable companion Mooser, ridden by Wancelas Walter, the French apprentice.
Pat Cosgrove got Etihad to take the opener in the last few strides from Barood Al Reef, ridden by Jesus Rosales.
Etihad improved from his debut run to win the re-match with the Kal Barq colt, who finished more than seven lengths ahead when beaten by a neck by Athena three weeks ago.
Royston Ffrench, the jockey who has ridden for Godolphin this season, made all the running with Meshwar to take the next race, increasing his tally for the season to seven winners.
Achill Bay, under Harry Bentley, an apprentice who has made a good start to his UAE career with three victories so far, was a surprise winner of the final race, the solitary thoroughbred prize, from Too Much Trouble, who made good progress from the back of the field to take second under Avranche.