Double For Beasley As Jap Captures Feature Race At Al Ain

Racing at Al Ain on Friday was highlighted by a 1400m Purebred Arabian handicap in which Royston Ffrench found a very willing partner in the shape of Jap Yajoud, who seemingly pulled himself to the front early on, and had plenty left to see off those who chased the early fractions he dictated.

It was left to Somoud to throw down the final challenge, but Richard Mullen’s mount could not get past and the winner was pulling away again at the line to register his fourth career victory, three of which have been achieved at Al Ain, the first in January 2018 at Sharjah.

A 5-year-old, he sports the famous greens silks of his breeder, Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, best known for being carried to victory by Lammtarra, unbeaten in four starts for Saeed bin Suroor, including the Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1995.

“This horse is very consistent here at this track and has run well again,” Ellahi said. “This is his third win at Al Ain, all for Royston Ffrench and they make a good combination.

Restricted to 3-year-olds in private ownership and foaled in the UAE, the opening 1600m maiden produced a protracted duel between debutant Hamdan Al Gharbia who made a brave effort to make all under Pat Cosgrave, but was unable to thwart the challenge of Alazoum.

Having stalked Cosgrave’s mount throughout, Connor Beasley asked Alazoum, having his fifth start and third in the UAE, to throw down a serious challenge at the top of the straight, the pair hitting the front 300m out and then having to see off a renewed effort from the runner-up.

Trained in Al Ain by Helal Al Alawi, the winner is homebred by the ever popular Ali Haddad who was on hand to celebrate the victory achieved by a son of Nieshan, a horse raced by the owner with great distinction with big race victories including three consecutive wins in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3, as well as the 2012 Group 1 HH The President Cup.

“That is very pleasing and both the first two showed very determined attitudes,” Haddad said. “Hopefully this is a young horse who can improve with experience.”

Those present or watching on television witnessed one of the most exciting finishes of the UAE season to date in a pulsating 2000m handicap in which Al Jazil looked the likely winner 100m from home, but was headed by Inthar with less than 50m remaining, only for AF Al Baher seemingly gaining the initiative with just a few strides left.

However, challenging at the same time was Beasley aboard Safin Al Reef, originally a reserve and it was they who passed the post in front for trainer Ahmad Al Hammadi and his main patron, Al Ajban Stables.

A 5-year-old entire, he was recording a second career victory with his previous success achieved at Al Ain in a maiden over 1800m last December.

“That was certainly exciting,” the trainer said. “We were glad to get a chance to run him because we thought it was the right race on a track he likes.”

Half an hour later, owner and trainer were celebrating a slightly less dramatic victory with Pat Cosgrave this time the man in the saddle, producing Onward to lead in the final strides to deny Pharizt Dubai who looked a certain winner when dashing clear just over 200m out, but had to settle for second just ahead of the winner’s stable companion, Optimizm who was also finishing fast.

A 4-year-old colt, Onward was making his eighth career start, but only third locally having twice, last season, finished second here at Al Ain, over 1600m and then this 1800m.

Al Hammadi said: “We were quite hopeful after his two good runs in April and that was a good effort from both horse and jockey.”

The only Thoroughbred race, a maiden over 1800m, was won relatively easily by Alda’iya saddled by Doug Watson for Abdulmohsen Al Abdulkareem and confidently ridden by Pat Dobbs who eased him onto the heels of Luxor Temple on the home turn before sending him to win his race inside the final 350m.

The 3-year-old gelded son of Afleet Alex ran four times last season, all at Meydan and, having been gelded over the summer, was fourth back there on his seasonal reappearance, producing what was, at the time, a career best appearance.

Watson said: “He ran well over 1600m on his first start of the season, behind a horse of ours called Mulfit, when he was finishing his race off well, so we hoped this extra 200m would suit him.

“He is a nice horse we have always believed, so it is nice to get a win with him.

“I guess we will look for a handicap now, perhaps back at Meydan.”

Sent straight to the front by Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, AF Sayf was probably never headed in a 1600m maiden although he was forced to dig deep to fend off a few challengers with about 500m remaining before quickening clear after they never looked likely to be caught.

Homebred by the jockey’s main employer, Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and in the care of Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel, the 4-year-old was making it third time lucky after two outings last season.

It was a first ever winner for AF Asawe’A, one of Al Nabooda’s new sires and also bred by the owner as was the dam, AF Al Hemah.

O’Shea said: “He has always worked like a good horse and was perhaps a bit disappointing last season, but was a big baby and was, we hoped, always going to improve.

“That should have done his confidence a lot of good and is a great result for Ernst, his team and Mr Al Naboodah.”

Bernardo Pinheiro was in the saddle aboard seasonal debutant Jayide Al Boraq, victorious in the concluding 1000m handicap. Trained by Khalifa Al Neyadi for Al Rahmai Racing, the 5-year-old victor making it two wins from just three starts having won a 1600 Al Ain maiden on his debut in March.