Competitive Mile Friday’s Al Ain highlight

Seven races at Al Ain on Friday, highlighted by the Al Ain Mile which has attracted a field of 10, among them Snan, winner of a 2000m conditions contest on this course on his penultimate start and then far from disgraced finishing eighth, beaten just four lengths, in the 2200m Group 1 HH The President Cup on the Abu Dhabi turf.

The 1600m feature will be only his second attempt at the trip, the first having been when well beaten in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on the dirt at Meydan Racecourse at the beginning of January. This is a much more realistic target and the 7yo entire should be staying on strongly under Pat Cosgrave for Abu Dhabi Racing and rookie Nisren Mahgoub who has made a fine start to her training career with seven winners thus far in a very satisfying debut season.

Trained on the Al Ain course by Frenchman Jean de Roualle, local debutante Fleur Du Soleil, one of two mares in the race and receiving weight from eight of her rivals, will have the assistance of Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea.

Twice a winner in Europe, in her native France over 1600m on turf and again on her most recent outing, the 1750m Listed President of the UAE Cup in Casablanca on dirt, she is returning from 110 days off the track but has joined a top yard and it would be no surprise were she able to make a successful local debut on her ‘home track’.

For Al Ajban Stables, Abdallah Al Hammadi saddles both Only Smoke and Oss, the mounts of Pat Dobbs and Fernando Jara respectively. The latter has registered all five career victories on this course, twice successful over this 1600m.

Only Smoke, meanwhile, has one course and distance success on his resume, a maiden on his second outing having finished third to Oss on his debut. Full-brothers, they would appear to hold similar claims in an intriguing contest with a case to be made for most of the runners.

Taking a big drop in class, Gold Silver should be capable of making his presence felt, Gabriele Malune riding for Ziad Galadari and Ibrahim Aseel, while Richard Mullen’s mount, Heros De Lagarde, has not won on dirt after five attempts but has yet to finish out of the first three on such surfaces, including here at Al Ain.

The latter is joined by stable companion SS Izz Dubai who also looks capable of a big effort with Ray Dawson in the saddle.

They are both trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, seeking a ninth Al Ain success of the campaign, currently sharing leading trainer honours with Khalifa Al Neyadi, both having saddled eight winners at Al Ain this season.

Al Neyadi, meanwhile, relies on As Qoot, the second mare in the field but with plenty to find on official ratings. She has been in good form this season and did win her maiden over track and trip at the very beginning of April 2021. Her three victories this season have all been over sprint trips, twice over 1000m, including here, and once at 1200m, in a prolific three-week period at the end of 2022.

Ahmed Al Shemaili saddles Nadelshiba, the mount of Antonio Fresu and another dropping in class with the field completed by Muharib Du Soleil, trained locally by Helal Alalawi and making his dirt debut on his third UAE appearance.