Al Hammadi And Al Ajban Stables Hoping For Further Triple Crown Success

Sunday’s final meeting of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club season is highlighted by the 2400m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R2, for 4-year-olds, which has attracted a field of seven, headed by the penalised Ottoman.

Trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi for Al Ajban Stables, he earned his extra impost when winning the 2200m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R2 a month ago. Connections are actually seeking a clean sweep in the Arabian Triple Crown having combined with Hameem to land the 1600m first round, a Listed contest.

Adrie de Vries was aboard both Hameem and Ottoman for their victories in the first two rounds, but he is not in Abu Dhabi action so Richard Mullen comes in for the spare ride.

Al Hammadi said: “We have had a brilliant season, our best ever and hopefully Ottoman can continue that with another big race win. It would be special to complete the Triple Crown, even if with two different horses.

“The extra 200m should suit our horse, but of course, he does have that penalty which makes it a bigger task.”

Of the septet, four are due to be saddled by Eric Lemartinel, including the obviously talented Mujeeb, one of a trio for the trainer owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The mount of Fabrice Veron, he was second to Hameem in the first round, but a well beaten fifth behind Ottoman in round two before being caught close home in the 2200m Arabian Derby.

Veron’s mount did actually beat Ottoman in the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship, but that was over 1600m and the colt’s maiden success, on debut, was at the even shorter trip of 1400m.

Also for Lemartinel, Antonio Fresu partners Foah in the colours of Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan Al Nahyan and one of three fillies in the race. They were fourth, two places and just over a length and a quarter, behind Mujeeb in the aforementioned Arabian Derby.

Like Al Hammadi, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami is another trainer who has surpassed his previous seasonal best tally of winners. He relies on Mutaqadim, the mount of Szczepan Mazur for the Royal Cavalry Oman. Homebred, he won his debut, over 1400m on the Al Ain dirt, before finishing third in both the first and second rounds of this Arabian Triple crown series.

Mazur said: “He was perhaps a bit disappointing last time at Al Ain, but that was only 1800m. Over 2200m he was staying on well in the second round, so we hope another 200m is going to suit him on Sunday.”

The final race on the Abu Dhabi turf this season and only Thoroughbred race on the card is a 1600m handicap which will be contested by a capacity field of 16 and looks wide open.

Leading the UAE trainers’ championship heading into the weekend, Doug Watson saddles four, Sam Hitchcott seemingly choosing to partner Verboten.

From a pair of Satish Seemar runners, Tadhg O’Shea rides Law Of Peace for Nasir Askar, the pair hoping to repeat their course and distance victory of the 4-year-old gelding’s local debut in the middle of February.

O’Shea said: “He did well to win the first day after a long break and has run well since when twice second at Jebel Ali. Hopefully the return to turf can see him get his head back in front.”

Others to have won over track and trip are Ganbaru, a month ago for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, and Tafaakhor. The latter, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, won under these conditions in December 2018 and is one of four in the race who will compete in the ownership of Shadwell after last week’s sad death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.