Deserved feature race success for MH Rahal

Al Ain staged their first fixture of the new season on Friday, officially highlighted by a 1000m conditions race, the final of seven races on the card, won in thrilling fashion by MH Rahal, produced by Richard Mullen to lead where it mattered and deny Rawaa who had led from the outset.

The 7yo entire is stable star for Elise Jeanne who prepares him for Manssoor Khalifa Sultan bin Habtoor who also bred the horse. It was only a third career success for the horse but he has contested mostly races in top company since his previous victory in December 2017 which was actually exactly a month after he lost his maiden tag at the second attempt.

He had subsequently run on a further 34 occasions, including in races like the last three renewals of the Group 1 Emirates Championship, as well as the 2020 Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1.

A delighted Jeanne said: “That was nice revenge because we were beaten here by Ghazwan Al Khalediah in April on our final starts of the season and he was well behind us today.
“He has always been quite a fast horse but one who stays a lot further and he has contested some very hot races over the years.
“I think we will step him up to 1400m at Meydan next time.”

Positive tactics paid off for Omani apprentice Abdul Aziz Al Balushi in the he only Thoroughbred race, a 1600m handicap, in which he committed for home at the top of the long straight aboard Tepui who proved a very winning partner to land the spoils for Helal Alalawi in the colours of Abdallah Al Mamari.

A 4yo gelded son of Sky Mesa, Tepui was actually shedding his maiden tag at the ninth attempt having raced twice in Britain for David Simcock. Five UAE appearances followed last season for Erwan Charpy and the gelding had clearly benefitted from his stable debut at Sharjah last Saturday when behind a few of his rivals here.

Alalawi, who trains nearby in Al Ain, said: “We were actually quite hopeful of a good run as we thought the track would suit him.
“We know he stays further so the plan was to be thereabouts throughout and it worked well under a good ride.
“Now the horse has put his head in front, hopefully, he can build on this.”

The opening 1400m maiden, for 4yos in private ownership, provided the perfect opportunity for RB Shark to make it third time lucky.
Saddled by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami for Nasser Abdullah Nasser Al Rasni, the colt was actually making his local debut after two Muscat outings last season.
Having tracked the pace throughout, was driven to lead close home by Antonio Fresu, denying Kaseh Al Shahama who made a gallant effort to make all the running.

A second 1400m maiden followed, this one for 3yos and it too was decided only in the latter stages, Adrie de Vries producing debutant Hakaam to lead in the final 75m for Al Wathba Racing.

Given time to find his stride by De Vries, from a wide draw, the pair stayed out of trouble before looming large 150m out and always looking the likely winner thereafter in what was probably a decent race of its type.

Homebred, he is trained on the Al Ain track by Jean De Roualle who said: “He has been working very well with older horses so we were quite hopeful. That said, he is still a big baby, green and a horse who is going to improve as he matures.
“He will probably go to Abu Dhabi for a turf race in December but we will look after him and pick races carefully because we really hope he is going to be a Group One horse.”

Yet again the decisive move was played late in the 1800m handicap, on this occasion Bernardo Pinheiro delivering Rajee to snatch the spoils with about 25m left for Yas Racing and Majed Al Jahoori.
Settled in midfield throughout the early stages of the contest, he made notable progress to close on the leaders early in the straight before pouncing late to claim a second career victory.

Another successful homebred, the 4yo colt was doubling his career tally, adding this success to one he registered in a similar course and distance handicap in January, again leaving his winning challenge late under Fernando Jara.

Trainer and jockey later doubled up with the impressive effort of Rahaal Al Wathba who made every post a winning one for Pinheiro and in a1600m maiden for horses foaled in the UAE, also completing a brace for Al Wathba Racing.

A homebred 5yo entire, he was winning at the seventh attempt and sixth in the UAE after a solitary outing in France in the summer of 2019. He had finished first past the post in an Al Ain maiden over 1800m in January 2020 when trained by Ana Mendez but was subsequently disqualified.

He showed great resolution and here because he was challenged by many at various stages of the contest but kept finding more for his Brazilian jockey who was also in the winner’s enclosure at Meydan on Thursday.

Sam Hitchcott was unseated on the way to post by a recalcitrant Gucci Girl before a 1600m maiden but surely happy to forgive her after she responded to his urgings with a withering late run to land the prize for Abdallah Al Hammadi and Al Ajban Stables.

As one of just 3yos in the field and the only filly in the contest, she received weight from all bar one of her12 rivals and took full advantage late on when swooping to lead near the line in a race five still held realistic chances entering the final 75m.

It was a winning debut full of promise because, after the signs of temperament, she also demonstrated her inexperience for much of the race before, seemingly, understanding what was required and delivering the goods for Hitchcott.