06 April 2023

Season ends Friday under Al Ain lights

The final meeting of the season is at Al Ain on Friday night, seven races kicking off at 9pm and highlighted by the Al Ain Cup, a 2000m Prestige contest in which RB Ffynch Dude will try and defend the title he won last year, just the second running of the contest inaugurated as recently as 2021.

Trained then by Helal Alalawi for Byerley Racing, the 7yo entire is now in the care of Abubakar Daud and will be having his first start for his new trainer after just three starts during a brief season. Bernardo Pinheiro, finishing the season with a flourish, rides.

It has been a memorable first season as a trainer for Nisren Mahgoub who saddles both Snan and Sharkh for Abu Dhabi Racing. A case could be made for both with slight preference perhaps for Snan, the mount of Oscar Chazez, another jockey ending the season in style.

His mount won a conditions contest over this course and distance in January and has been highly tried in three much better races. He should appreciate the drop in class and looks a big danger to all.

Stable companion Sharkh, meanwhile, the mount of Francois Herholdt, won his maiden here at Al Ain, over 1800m, in November 2020 and generally runs well, although only seen twice in public this season thus far.

His most recent five efforts include twice finishing second in Al Ain and a pair of victories on the turf at Abu Dhabi, most recently on his belated seasonal debut in February.

Hamad Al Marar is another new trainer enjoying a fine first campaign and his Suny Du Loup looks to hold leading claims with apprentice Marcelino Rodrigues taking a valuable 3.0kgs off his back.

The 5yo does, however, need to prove his effectiveness on dirt (this will be just his second try, first at Al Ain and he was well beaten on a similar surface – at Meydan Racecourse – on his first try but in a much better race).

Trained on the Al Ain track for Yas Racing by Jean de Roualle and receiving weight from her 14 opponents as the only mare in the race, Tamari has to be taken seriously and the booking of Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea looks a significant one.

A 5yo mare, she won a 2100 conditions race in her native France, the highlight of ten European outings, before debuting locally in a 2000m handicap, finishing second, on this course, a months ago.

Last year’s wining trainer Alalawi saddles both Fettah Du Loup and Kalifano De Ghazal for The National Stables. Both would appear to hold similar claims in a truly wide open race that helps bring down the seasonal curtain in style.