Top trainer Oertel brings home three winners from Abu Dhabi

Shahryar and Adrian Nicholls spoil Tadgh O'Shea's attempt at three straight wins

Dane O'Neill riding Udabaa to victory in the Al Reem Island Handicap at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday. Christopher Pike / The National
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ABU DHABI // Ernst Oertel saddled a treble in the capital’s third race meeting on Sunday to regain the lead in the trainer’s championship race.

The UAE trainer racked up the first three prizes on the six-race card to take his tally to 11, two more than Ali Rashid Al Raihe and Musabah Al Muhairi.

“I wish the winners keep coming every week,” he said.

Jockey Tadgh O’Shea rode the first two winners before his bid for No 3 was foiled by Adrian Nicholls on stable companion Shahryar in the third race. It was a familiar scene in the first race, with the O’Shea-Oertel partnership winning the opener for the third time in three meetings at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club racecourse.

O’Shea rode the newcomer Nemrah to win by 10 lengths from Sharaf Al Reef in the maiden for UAE-bred horses, over 1,600m.

“She was a big baby last year,” Oertel said. “So we gave her some time and it seemed to have worked, if you look at the manner she won tonight. It was a strong race and she made it look easy.”

Molahen El Alhan made it two-for-two for Oertel and O’Shea with a similar run to win the next race.

“The saddled slipped on him and I was a bit concerned,” the South African said. “That made it look hard work for him but he’s going for the Abu Dhabi Championship on November 22.”

In the third race, Nicholls got up in the last few strides on Shahryar to pip Sheikh Down by a neck in the handicap rated 0-55.

“He won on his debut [on November 13, 2011] and was my third winner in the UAE. So it was good to see him win again and coming back to his old self,” Oertel said.

Jockey Gerald Avranche and trainer Eric Lemartinel claimed the next two prizes with Ibn Battuta Monlau and AF Muwall’Aa.

Avranche hit the front on the last 50m to hold off Dig Danon under Sam Hitchcott in the handicap 0-70 and came with a strong late run to win the Al Wathba Cup by from Joyous Dream by a neck.

Udabaa, ridden by Dane O’Neill, was an impressive winner of the concluding thoroughbred handicap for trainer Doug Watson.

“He has been doing well in training but didn’t seem to show that potential in his first start at Meydan three weeks ago. I fancied all three entered and Udabaa came out the best tonight,” Watson said.