Competitive Handicap Highlight Of All Purebred Al Ain Card

Friday November 13, 2020
A matinee meeting at Al Ain on Saturday with seven races, all for Purebred Arabians, is highlighted by a handicap over 1800m with the maximum allowed field of 15 set to face the starter.

Leading the charge is Dagui Lotois, The mount of Bernardo Pinheiro, trained by Ahmad Al Mehairbi for Al Rahmani Racing. The 4-year-old is actually unbeaten on dirt having won consecutive races, at Al Ain, earlier this year. The first was a January maiden over Saturday’s course and distance before following up in a 2000m handicap. His other ten career starts have been on turf, most recently his final start of the last campaign in March when runner-up in the 2400m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R3.

Pinheiro said: “We know he likes it at Al Ain and he was progressive last season, so I am looking forward to riding him in a race for the first time.”

That Arabian Triple Crown Round 3 was won by Basmah, again in opposition for Eric Lemartinel who saddles the homebred 4-year-old filly for his main patron, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Fabrice Veron will be in the saddle, as he was for that Group 3 success, and when the filly landed the Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R2 and when she scored in a maiden over the same 1800m at Al Ain as is Saturday’s race.

Veron said: “She is a nice filly and as we saw last season versatile with regards to distance and underfoot conditions. This looks a good spot for her comeback at the beginning of hopefully another good season for her.”

Jean de Roualle and Richard Mullen are always a duo to be feared and they combine with Musheer Al Wathba, a 4-year-old homebred colt carrying the silks of Al Wathba Racing.

Trained on the Al Ain track by the astute Frenchman, Mullen’s mount signed off last season in style, the pair scoring in the Al Ain Derby, a Prestige contest over Saturday’s 1800m. That was only his fourth career appearance and second victory, his maiden success also over Al Ain’s 1800m on his second start, local and dirt debut, in January.

De Roualle said: “We like this young horse. We think he is improving and hope for a good run in a strong race when we know conditions suit him.”

Trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi for Al Ajban Stables, Connor Beasley’s mount, Hareer Al Reef, is also a winner over track and trip, in his case a handicap in January 2019. In fact, three of his career victories have been posted in the ‘Garden City’, the other on dirt at Sharjah, but he has raced mostly in the Al Ain Marathon Series. This includes his latest success in the 3200m opening round, a handicap, also in January 2019.

Ryan Curatolo rides stable companion Onward, a 2200m Abu Dhabi turf winner just last weekend for Al Hammadi and Al Ajban Stables. Owner and trainer also combine with Officer, the mount of Jose Santiago.

On his local debut last week, in a stronger race on turf in Abu Dhabi, Al Amiral missed the break and was never subsequently involved with any kind of realistic chance. That said, he did finish in front of the aforementioned Basmah. To be ridden by Issa Al Balushi, having just his fifth ride in the UAE and first since 2018, for Mohammed Al Shamsi, the 6-year-old entire should relish the drop in class and return to dirt, having posted both victories on a similar surface in Muscat. Interestingly, Al Balushi was in the saddle on both occasions, over 1200m in October 2018 and 2000m the following January.

Majed Al Jahoori’s runners can never be safely ignored, so Yaraa, under Fernando Jara and Saarookh, the mount of Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, both merit a second glance.

Of the remainder, Ellal is somewhat of an unknown quantity having had just three starts, winning on debut over 1400m on the Abu Dhabi turf. The 5-year-old was beaten a long way on his one dirt outing, but that was over 1000m here at Al Ain, and this trip looks more suitable on his first start for Khalifa Al Neyadi.