Abu Dhabi: Al Asayl-based trainer Ernst Oertel and champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea are forging a powerful alliance this season and combined to win two of the six races at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday evening, including the feature race with Time Out.
It was a comfortable success for the veteran nine-year-old who last year won the National Day Cup prep race over the same course and distance — it was his first win in just over a year but seventh overall.
“I actually won on him four years ago on the dirt at Nad Al Sheba when he was a fast-improving youngster. He has contested plenty of big races since and clearly retains enthusiasm and ability,” said jockey O’Shea.
“I was always happy out there as he was carrying me into the race strongly and, once he quickened clear, he was never going to be caught.”
An hour earlier, the same connections had combined to land a 1,600m maiden with local debutant Najm Alemarat, who arrived in the UAE after three promising efforts in his native France.
O’Shea said: “He is a big horse who should continue to improve. That experience he gained in Europe has held him in good stead today and who knows where he might end up — he is a full-brother to dual UAE Group 1 winner Fryvolous.
“The yard are going well and hopefully we can continue in a similar vein.”
Another trainer who has made a flying start to the campaign is former champion Satish Seemar who saddled Pat Cosgrave on Malthouse to win the only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2,200m handicap.
Assistant trainer Bhupat Seemar said: “It was only his second start for us and prior to that he had not run since September 2011, so we knew he would improve for his start two weeks ago. That was over 1,600m but this 2,200m really suited him and he did that well.”
Jaber Bitar has also started the campaign well and supplied the first two home in the opening 1,600m conditions race, with Jesus Rosales on Ameer Al Reef running on too strongly for stable companion Monawer.
“I was hoping for a big run after his excellent second on debut here two weeks ago and he certainly did not let me down,” said Rosales.
Musabah Al Muhairi endured a slow start last season but that is not the case this time around, as Dane O’Neill drove his Aqmaar to a narrow success in a 1,600m handicap for owner Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance. O’Neill said: “We missed the break but luckily the gaps opened when we needed them.”
The 1,600m Conditions race, restricted to horses belonging to ‘private owners’ was won by Richard Mullen on Yazan, trained by Tony Manuel, who also has his string in fine fettle. Mullen said: “I won on this horse last year and we were second in a decent race last time in February, so I was quite hopeful and he did that nicely.”