The Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival is on the horizon, but before the big show takes place in the Capital on National Day weekend, Al Ain host their third meeting of the season tomorrow.
The feature on a seven-race card is a 0-100 rated handicap for the Purebred Arabians over 1800m.
A strong and highly competitive field will go to post including Maador (6pm), the mount of Tadgh O’Shea, who brings recent form to the table having finished an honourable third to Deryan two weeks ago over course and distance. That form stands out clearly and a reproduction of that effort means he should take some beating.
Another key contender in the feature is Ss Izz Dubai. An extremely progressive last campaign was capped off with a modest sixth in the Group 3 Al Ain Mile, but should he improve further this term and he remains of interest as a project going forward.
The lone thoroughbred contest, a maiden over 2000m, see the three-year-olds go against their older compatriots. The Salem bin Ghadayer pairing of Alwareeth (5pm) and Flame Talon look strong. The former had shown nothing close to promising on the racetrack until his run at Jebel Ali this season where he stayed on resolutely to grab the silver medal, despite struggling to keep tabs with the pace early on. That race was over 1800m and the extra 200m on Friday is bound to suit him.
The opposite should be the case with stablemate Flame Talon, who has so far appeared to be vulnerable over anything beyond 1600m. He does bring in course form from last year, however, and should be thereabouts, particularly if being afforded an easy lead.
The same Jebel Ali form will also be represented by another four horses including the Michael Costa-duo of Thaayer and Makfoul.
The latter finished ahead of his stablemate on that occasion and that could well be the case again given how keen he was in the early stages of the race. However, he still managed to hit the line stronger than Thaayer and jockey bookings suggest likewise with Ben Coen, the stable’s first choice rider, partnering Makfoul.
This will be an uphill task for the three-year-olds and the only one that makes some appeal is the Al Mheiri-trained Oasis Moon. His last run saw him finish a distant last, but that came in the Listed Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday and, prior to that, he finished an excellent second in a 1900m maiden to the Al Bastakiya winner when trying to make all. He will not need to improve a lot to make his presence felt here and must be respected.
Four other maidens over varying trips and a 1400m handicap all for the Purebred Arabians complete the day’s proceedings with Fadiah Al Wathba (7.30pm) one which catches the eye in the 1400m maiden which is the penultimate race on the card.
The blinkered daughter of Rabbah De Carrere concluded last season with a fine effort in the 250,000 AED HH The Ruler Of Sharjah Cup when third to AF Maqam.
She was only overhauled late on that day after making the majority of the running and she looks a banker to shed her maiden tag sooner rather than later.