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Saturday, December 31, 2011


Abu Dhabi to host first racemeeting of 2012


The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club is the main sponsors at their own meeting this Sunday, the first UAE racing fixture of 2012 and a seven race card awaits racegoers.

The official highlight is the penultimate race, a 2200m Purebred Arabian handicap for which 13 have been declared.


His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum owns four of these, all trained by Gill Duffield and of which Richard Hills has chosen to ride Takaamul.

He will be having his second start of the season, having already won over 2400m on the Abu Dhabi turf this season.

Hills said: "It was not an easy choice with four nice horses to opt from but Takaamul has a great record at Abu Dhabi and is hopefully still improving."

The owner's second jockey, Tadhg O'Shea, chooses stable companion Ejaabi with the quartet completed by top-weight Adjinn D'Aroco and local debutant Antar Vege, to be ridden by Ted Durcan and Richard Mullen respectively.

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is also well represented with three runners all saddled by Ernst Oertel.

Frysk Me Now, the mount of Pat Cosgrave may prove best of the trio with Elmalak Elwaheed having been well beaten by Takaamul on their seasonal returns and Forgehill Cezanne yet to show his best form since transferring from Europe.

Bareq split Takaamul and Elmalak Elwaheed in second when they clashed in November, while Baher, sporting the colours of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, looks best of the rest.

The only Thoroughbred race is the concluding 1400m maiden and trainers Satish Seemar and Ali Rashid Al Raihe are both responsible for four of the 14 runners.

Seemar's stable jockey Richard Mullen chooses to ride On War, while Royston Ffrench picks Garbah of the Al Raihe quartet.

Explaining his choice, Mullen said: "There probably is not an awful lot between our four but On War has only had four starts in France and seems to be showing aplenty of ability at home. In due course he will probably want further but it is a nice race in which to start him off."

Of Garbah, who turns four on the morning of the race, Ffrench said: "She ran very well first time at Meydan over 1200m at Meydan and then again there stepped up to 1400m second time. Those runs were on [the All-Weather] before she struggled on the dirt at Sharjah.

"Her only UK start was a good one, on turf, and hopefully she can bounce back in which case she must have a good chance."

Energia Eroi is very hard to assess on only his second career start and turf debut. He only ran once as a juvenile in 2011, when second in Sweden on dirt but connections must hold him in some regard to bring him to the UAE.

The seven race card opens, at 4.30pm, with a rare treat for the Abu Dhabi patrons and their first race on sand in many years.

The maximum field of 10 have been declared in a race that is not included in Pick Six.


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