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The Al Ain Mile was the highlight at Al Ain Racecourse on Friday afternoon and proved a memorable occasion for trainer Helal Al Alawi who saddled Aslaan to beat stable companion, RB Goliath, in the 1600m Prestige contest.
The pair had the race between themselves throughout the final 200m when Royston Ffrench and RB Goliath, who had been settled just off the pace, set sail for home.
However, Aslaan and Richard Mullen, who was completing a double, had made stealthy progress throughout the straight and were soon challenging before taking the initiative with 100m remaining.
They galloped on resolutely with Ffrench’s mount keeping on well in second.”
“Full credit to connections as the trainer was pretty confident he would run a big race, said Mullen. “He stays a lot further so I knew he would be staying on strongly in the straight and it is great to ride another nice winner for Sheikh Mansour.”
The winner is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and was winning for the fourth time and third time at Al Ain, as well as a third victory this season.”
The meeting opened with a 2000m handicap and, following on from a Meydan treble on Thursday evening, Satish Seemar and his stable jockey at Zabeel Stables, Mullen, wasted little time adding to that, combining to land the spoils with Dorhess De Brugere.
Having tracked the pace throughout the vast majority of the race, they hit the front over 300m and kept on strongly to win fairly comfortably.
“The horses are in great form and he responded gamely when I asked him,” said Mullen. “Hopefully, we can continue this good run until the end of the season.”
Mullen completed his second hat-trick in less than 24 hours in the finale, a 1000m handicap, combining this time with Ernst Oertel and owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, celebrating a double, with AF Meeqat.
Gerald Avranche and Al Yaboob were victorious in the only Thoroughbred contest, a 2000m handicap, hitting the front inside the final 150m and running on well to record a first win of the season for his trainer, Ali Jan.
It was also a maiden victory for the horse, on his ninth start and returned to the course and distance of his best previous effort, when runner-up on his seasonal debut in November.
“He did that quite well in the end and seems to like this track,” said Avranche. “He stays well and, now he has won a race, he might be able to build on this next season.”
The 1600m handicap produced a thrilling finish with Avranche and the Eric Lemartinel-trained Bashayer overhauling AF Tathoor and Mullen in the dying strides.
Owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it was a third career victory for the mare who needed every inch of the trip to produce a determined late challenge to put her grey head was in front where it mattered.
In doing so, she recorded a second course and distance victory with a 1400m Al Ain maiden victory also to her credit.
“That was desperately close and I did not know who had won,” said Avranche. “We had actually weighed in before the result was announced so we knew it was very close.
“She really ran on strongly for me and is a tough mare who really likes it here at Al Ain.”
Fifteen may have gone to post for the 2000m maiden but in reality only two, the Al Nabooda duo of AF Mashoum and AF Abahe, ever really looked like winners.
Trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, AF Mashmoun was soon in front under apprentice Saaed Al Mazrooei, stalked by Mullen aboard AF Abahe.
The pair disputed the running at the end of the back straight and into the home turn, before Al Mazrooei committed for home fully 600m out.
His mount responded, going two lengths clear and, despite visibly tiring in the final 300m, plugged on gamely to hold on and register his first career victory at the ninth attempt.
“He was second over course and distance in January so knew he would stay,” said Al Mazrooei for whom it was a first winner since returning recently from injury. “He likes being ridden positively and was very game in the closing stages a she was tiring.”
Adrie de Vries took TM AC-Dc straight to the front in a 1400m handicap and the pair stayed there, pulling clear in the straight to provide trainer, Yousif bin Ghilan, his second winner of the campaign.