Abu Dhabi: Ernst Oertel enjoyed a four-out-of-four success rate at Abu Dhabi Racecourse on Sunday to move to the top of the UAE trainers’ championship, reflecting the resounding success of the local breeding operations of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Helping the Al Asayl trainer to three of the four winners was jockey Tadhg O’Shea, whose treble lifted him to the top of the jockeys’ championship standings.
Oertel and O’Shea combined to win the two feature races — the UAE Arabian Derby with UAE debutant Skoop and the Emirates Fillies Classic with Shayel Aldhabi. And the Derby even produced a one-two finish for Oertel, with Najm Alemarat coming second behind Skoop.
The Oertel-O’Shea partnership started the evening with a superb win on Heb Nessnas in a maidens race and Oertel’s other victory came when he registered another one-two in the Al Khubairat-rated conditions race. James Doyle on Chick Flick was too good for O’Shea on Richlore, but it was still the now familiar colours of the President that came out on top.
Apart from Heb Nessnas and Shayel Aldhabi, both locally bred at the Al Asayl Stables in Sweihan, the other winner of a Purebred race on Sunday was also bred by Shaikh Khalifa. Aryaf from Fakhruddin Nizamuddin’s yard was driven home to a surging finish by Ted Durcan to give the Libyan trainer his first win since the 2008-09 season.
Oertel hailed the breeding programme and the way in which UAE-bred Arabians were making a huge impact.
“This is good for our breeding programme as we don’t go around buying horses,” he said. “Shayel Aldhabi is one we bred and she’s gone from strength to strength to win four races on the trot.
“All in all, the success we have had is because of the quality of the horses that come through our breeding programme and the wonderful team we have in place.”