RB to try and Burn off opposition

Sunday’s National Day fixture at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club features both the Group 3 Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cup and the Listed National Day Cup, the only Thoroughbred race on the card.

Both races are over 1600m and the former sees RB Burn return to action, three weeks after he finished ‘first past the post’ in the world’s richest Purebred Arabian contest, the Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, over the same course and distance.

Victorious in the same race 12 months earlier, sadly for connections he was demoted and placed second this year.

Trained by Eric Lemartinel for Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he is penalised on Sunday but should still be a major player under Gerald Avranche who said: “He is a very good horse who has a touch of class and relishes Sunday’s conditions.

“Hopefully he is the one the others have to beat.”

Lemartinel, the master of Al Asayl Stables, also saddles Hamza, the mount of Jesus Rosales, and Darius Du Paon, the choice of Tadhg O’Shea, both owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

O’Shea said: “Al Asayl look to have a strong hand with RB Burn looking the most likely winner but all three are working nicely.”

Hamza was second in this last year when chasing home Sharaf Al Reef, with Fernando Jara riding for Abdallah Al Hammadi and they are back to defend their crown.

Nahee, to be saddled by Jean de Roualle for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Erwan Charpy-trained Cheik Roque and Bon Baiser De Faust can all run well but RB Burn should be hard to beat.

Bon Baiser De Faust is trained by Champion Trainer Doug Watson, whose team are in great form, for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the pair combine with two of the 16 runners in the Thoroughbred’s Listed National Day Cup.

Dane O’Neill, retained by the owner, chooses Zarwaan who is one of three in the race for Watson and part of a quintet set to carry the colours of Sheikh Hamdan.

Off the track for 654 days, Zarwaan has only run twice since joining Watson and is clearly held in some regard. Representing the same owner and trainer is Basateen, to be ridden by Sam Hichcott, based with Watson at Red Stables whereas stable jockey, Pat Dobbs, has elected to partner Shamaal Nibras.

Winner of the course and distance prep race in each of the last two seasons, Dobbs’ mount was second in this National Day Cup 12 months ago.

Watson said: “They are three nice horses and Shamaal Nibraas has the advantage of a run, which he won, already this season.

“He could be better drawn though and it is the same with Zarwaan, a horse we have always really liked but Basateen, another nice type, is better berthed in stall five.”

Only fifth in this last year, Forjatt won the 2015 National Day Cup and is joined in the field this year by stable companion Haalick, the choice of stable jockey, Oisin Murphy.

Both are owned by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and trained by Gopi Selvaratnam who said: “Forjatt is nine now and might just need this run on his comeback. Haalick ran well in the prep three weeks ago and has a nice draw in the centre.”

Satish Seemar saddles three with stable jockey, Richard Mullen, choosing Eavesdropper, not seen in public since third in this contest last year.

That was his first run for well over a year when he was returning to action having been off the track since March 2011 so he has clearly not been easy to train.

Pat Cosgrave rides stablemate, Hawkesbury with Adrie de Vries aboard the third Seemar contender, Carbon Dating.

Assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar said: “It was a tough choice for Richard with all three in good form.

“Carbon Dating loves it at Abu Dhabi but, probably, would prefer further. Hopefully he can get a good early position to utilise his stamina.

“Eavesdropper was an excellent third in this last year and runs well fresh, whereas Hawkesbury was a very good second in the prep and should be thereabouts.

“With luck, all three should run very well in a wide open race.”