Lemartinel, Oertel score double in season-opener
Jockey O’Shea steals the thunder with a treble
The UAE capital’s racing season kicked off with Eric Lemartinel-trained Darius Du Paon, ridden by Olivier Doleuze, winning the feature event — Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Prep Race for the Purebred Arabians — at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club last night.
Doleuze, making his debut in the UAE, stayed behind third placed AF Al Sajanjle for most part of the race, before surging ahead to brush aside a late challenge from secondplaced Goshawke. A win by a good 1.25 lengths spoke volumes of Doleuze’s expertise.
“I’m extremely happy with the win because I don’t have any stables. Eric asked me to ride his horse. I don’t know much about the horse but when I went to the start, he was relaxed and fine. During the race, he was able to follow the lad in the lead and good enough to win,” said a jubilant Doleuze, based in Hong Kong for the past 15 years.
Lemartinel thus completed a double for His Highness President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the evening. He had earlier won the opening race of the Abu Dhabi racing season: a 1,400m maiden race for three-yearold Purebred Arabians, after Patrick Cosgrave took Ellal to a convincing win.
Also impressing on the opening day was trainer Ernst Oertel and jockey Tadhg O’Shea, as they pair scored a double. O’Shea led Al Waqas to victory in 1,400m Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club Cup for Private Owners before going on to clinch the Al Rawdah 2200m race on AF Yatroq. O’Shea later completed his treble on Parliamentarian after he won the 2,200m Corniche Handicap.