UAE: Smiling Oertel steals the show with double strike

Report: UAE, Sunday (purebred arabians)

Abu Dhabi

ERNST OERTEL has suffered immensely this year but found a reason to smile when he won both championship races in Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Arabian racing festival.

Oertel saddled Munzade to win the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice Jockeys World Championship, in which Britain’s Emma Sayer finished third on another Oertel runner, while Molahen El Alhan came home first in the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship, a contest full of misfortune for Ireland’s representative Evanna McCutcheon, who trains classy sprinter Maarek.

Just over three months ago Oertel had his left leg amputated at the knee due to extreme septicaemia following surgery to remove a titanium plate fitted after a riding accident.

The trauma made his reception from racegoers all the warmer on a night when both winners carried the colours of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Oertel, the season’s leading trainer who was formerly based in Britain, said: “I’m very happy as we like to support these races and am grateful to Sheikh Mansoor for supporting them. It is a brilliant thing they are doing especially for the young jockeys. They nearly learn more riding Arabs than thoroughbreds. Silvestre de Sousa will tell you how good it is to learn on them.”

Munzade was ridden by Turkey’s Vahdettin Kaplan, aged 20, who said: “I was dreaming on the flight over here that I could win, so to achieve it is a fantastic feeling.”

The winning rider on Oertel’s second strike, Jadey Pietrasiewicz from the Netherlands, was making up for lost time having missed out two years ago with injury.

She said: “I always hoped to come back, and to win is amazing.”

McCutcheon’s mount Wycked lived up to her name completely, missing the break by many lengths.

She said: “They told me before the race she was a tricky horse and she didn’t disappoint in that respect. She made up a bit of ground and overall it was a great experience.”

Britain was represented in the ladies’ world championship by Alyson Deniel, who works for Richard Fahey and though unplaced on Mandragore Al Maury was another to relish the experience.

She said: “She was just taken off her feet from the word go, but gave it her all.”

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