Fresu’s Friday treble highlighted by Al Ain Mile success

Seven races at Al Ain on Friday were highlighted by the Group 3 Al Ain Mile and the feature proved a fascinating contest with eight of the ten runners seemingly intent to lead early on.
It was only at the top of the straight Nadelshiba and Antonio Fresu gained a definite advantage, one they refused to relinquish, the jockey completing a treble on the card.

The duo appeared in trouble on several occasions over the final 550m but the 5yo entire kept finding more to record a gritty success, the fourth of his career, third locally in the colours of Elbashir Salem Elhrari and first for Ahmed Al Shemaili.
The horse scored twice last season, over 2000m on this course, when trained by Rashed Ali Al Rayhi.

For horses foaled in the UAE, the opening 2000m maiden attracted a capacity field of 15 but only one ever really mattered, Marwan Al Wathba soon in front under Fresu and the pair well clear entering the concluding 375m.

Trained on the track by Jean-Claude Pecout, the hombred Al Wathba Racing 4yo colt was making it third time lucky having finished second to the very promising Fadwaan here on debut over 1600m before well beaten, behind the same rival, in a better race on the Abu Dhabi turf.

The following 2000m handicap also produced a relatively comfortable winner and a double for the Italian jockey, this time Fresu showing tactical guile in taking his time behind a fast early gallop before unleashing Taj Al Izz with the decisive challenge inside the final 125m.

Saddled by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami for Ben Shahwan Arabian Horse Stables, the 5yo entire was shedding his maiden tag at the tenth attempt.

A better class 2000m handicap was then won in taking fashion by Hakeem, delivered with perfect timing to grab the initiative entering the final 175m by Richard Mullen, sporting the Al Asayl silks for Salem Al Ketbi.

Initially settled in midfield, the homebred 5yo entire was coaxed into contention early in the straight before Mullen made his decisive move.

A winner on debut, over 20o0m on turf in his native France, back in June 2021, this was the horse’s first success since, doubling his tally on his fifth UAE appearance but just second on dirt.

Again the maximum field allowed went to post for a 1600m maiden but, as with the earlier 2000m maiden, 14 may as well have stayed at home, in this instance Bernardo Pinheiro soon at the head of affairs aboard Yas Racing’s Lu’Ay, the pair well on top for the second half of the race.

The homebred 4yo colt, making his local debut after one outing in France, when well beaten on turf, was having his first local start and since joining Majed Al Jahoori.

For horses in private ownership, a 1400m handicap, as is so often the case in these races went to the Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, Ernst Oertel and Tadgh O’Shea triumvirate, AF Afham, burdened with joint top weight landing the prize.

Gamely overcoming that impost, the homebred 5yo entire was registering his third success after seven starts and is now a dual course and distance winner.

The only Thoroughbred race concluded the card, a 1000m handicap dash in which the world famous blue and white Shadwell silks were carried to victory by retained jockey Dane O’Neill aboard Al Hadeer for John Hyde.