Classy local charges set to illuminate Al Ain

Saturday’s Al Ain fixture, the track’s second of the new season, features a quality Purebred Arabian conditions race over 1800m for which eight have been declared, including multiple Group One winner Somoud, trained on the track by Jean de Roualle.

To be partnered by Dane O’Neill, Yas Racing’s homebred 8yo entire has ten career victories to his name, four at the highest level and is running on dirt for the first time since winning the Group 3 Al Ain Mile in March 2020 when trained by Ahmed Al Mehairbi.

However, De Roualle’s stable star, with an official handicap mark of 118, is not the highest rated runner in the race, an honour that befalls Jugurtha De Monlau, also trained on the course for Yas Racing, in his case by Jean-Claude Pecout.

The 6yo entire is the mount of Pat Dobbs so represents the same connections as Shamakh, victorious in a 2200m Abu Dhabi handicap on Thursday evening.

Jugurtha De Monlau is seeking a third career success and second locally, aiming to add this contest to the 2000m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 he won at Meydan in March of this year. On his previous start he was fifth behind Somoud in the 2200m Group 1 HH The President Cup on the Abu Dhabi turf.

The locally-trained Yas Racing duo certainly would appear the ones to beat with an apparent class edge over their six rivals, arguably headed by RB Bradley Nelson, with Tadhg O’Shea seemingly a notable jockey booking, and Fettah Du Loup. Both that pair are trained in Al Ain, but not on the course, by Helal Alalawi for National Stables.

After the defection of Antimo, eight are also set to face the starter in the sole Thoroughbred contest on the seven-race card, a 2000m handicap, in which the weights are headed by course and distance winner Anizzah.

Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash and the mount of Ray Dawson, the 7yo gelded son of Oasis Dream recorded his only career victory, in 13 attempts, in a maiden over this 2000m almost a year ago. He was runner-up in the equivalent maiden 12 months earlier so clearly likes the conditions at Al Ain and seemingly found 2600m too far on his only other appearance here.

Dawson’s mount has to concede weight to all his rivals but may well prove capable of doing so in what does not appear a strong contest. He should be cherry ripe for this after finishing third at Meydan last Friday.

Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Antonio Fresu may provide the main opposition with Branwell but he has failed to win in ten career starts to date, although he was twice placed in Britain for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby.

Connections will be hoping a first visit to Al Ain can prove the key to that elusive first victory and he did produce two decent efforts in March, on turf at Meydan and dirt up the Jebel Ali hill.
Like Anizzah, he also has the advantage of race fitness, albeit after a lacklustre Jebel Ali reappearance a fortnight ago.