By Duane Fonseca
Trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and rider Sandro Paiva nicked the Listed Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup in style after Taamol showed tremendous acceleration to get away from his rivals in the only Thoroughbred contest on Sunday's six race Abu Dhabi card.
The 1600m contest featured a quality field but the HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Owned 5yo Helmet gelding bounced back to winning ways under Brazilian Paiva as he ran clear of the opposition with 200m left to win by a length and a quarter from Ahmad bin Harmash's Connor Beasley ridden Golden Jaguar. Taamol's Shadwell bannermate Mukalal, the charge of Erwan Charpy, was a head behind in third under Dane O'Neill.
The Purebred Arabian version of the National Day Cup, which carried Group 3 status, was won by trainer Eric Lemartinel and rider Fabrice Veron after RB Lam Tara only just managed to hold on from Ana Mendez's Pat Dobbs ridden Harrab, who chased the winner hard in the home stretch, but could only reduce the victory margin to a short head. In third place was RB Lam Tara's stablemate RB Torch.
The opening race on the card, was a 2200m PA handicap won by Abdullah Al Hammadi's Onward who was a length and three fourths ahead of El Faust trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and ridden by Szczepan Mazur. Lemartinel's RB Grynade was a further length behind in third.
Irfan Ellahi and Fernando Jara won the 1200m PA Maiden with JAP Aneed who scored by two and three fourths of a length from Lemartinel's Darya ridden by Veron. In third place, a further three and a half lengths behind was Ibrahim Aseel's AF Tawash with Sam Hitchcott aboard.
The 1400m PA handicap brought up the first half of the card and was won by Ernst Oertel's AF Ashras who seized the lead 500m out and kept on well to win by three fourths of a length from the Satish Seemar schooled SS Jalmod. In third place, a short head behind was AF Al Asef, trained by Mohammed Al Shamsi.
Oertel completed a late double winning the card closing 1600m fillies and mares handicap with the Antonio Fresu ridden Noof KB who managed to edge Bushrah Al Reef in the final strides with Sadah running in third for Lemartinel.