Oss leads home 1-2 for connections in Al Ain feature

Saturday’s Al Ain fixture featured a quality conditions race for Purebred Arabians over 1800m, a feature dominated by horses owned by Al Ajban Stables and prepared by their primary trainer, Abdallah Al Hammdi with Richard Mullen aboard Oss denying stable companion Indy’ Day in the final 40m.

Mullen settled his mount in rear of the eight runners before asking the 5yo entire to close on the final turn, the pair edging into contention about 450m from home before pouncing late to snatch the spoils.

It was a fifth career win for the horse, who has only ever raced here in the UAE.

For 3yos foaled within the UAE and in private ownership, the opening 1600m maiden was dominated by Zakhir Xmensor, one of the two runners with previous experience among a field of eight, who was probably never headed under Pat Cosgrave in the silks of Fatin Ahmad Rashad Mansara for trainer Omer Darag, saddling an overdue winner after three blank seasons.

Runner-up, albeit beaten eight lengths, on his debut 15 days ago, here at Al Ain over 1400m, he showed the benefit of that outing to record a relatively comfortable success.

Cosgrave said: “He did that well and I never had to get too serious on him. I think that 1600m is plenty far enough for him at the moment and it will be interesting to see how he progresses raised in grade.”

After two absentees were confirmed, the only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2000m handicap, was contested by a depleted field of just seven and developed into a duel over the final 400m, Jazirat trying his utmost but ultimately unable to thwart Anizzah, the mount of Ray Dawson for trainer Ahmad bin Harmash and owner Khalifa Saif Rashed Al Maqoodi.

Settled nearer last than first in the initial half of the race, the 7yo gelded son of Oasis Dream then edged closer before throwing down his determined and victorious challenge halfway up the long Al Ain home straight.

His only previous career success was over this same course and distance just a week shy of a year ago.

Dawson said: “He was very keen after a break at Meydan last week and I was pretty confident coming here today. I am not sure this surface totally suits him, although he has won here before, but I think he prefers Meydan. Either way, he is a bonny little horse to have in the yard.”

A 2000m handicap only involved one horse from the moment Abdul Aziz Al Balushi sent The National Stables’ Al Mansour NF to the head of affairs on the home turn, the pair soon clear to win effortlessly for Helal Alalawi.

The pair crossed the line in splendid isolation, the 5yo entire doubling his career tally in the process, adding this victory to a course and distance maiden success registered on his penultimate start in March.

Antonio Fresu produced Naser Askar’s Zafaranah to lead close home and snatch the prize in a maiden over 1800m, the 4yo filly making it ‘third time lucky’ in her fledgling career on her second local start and since joining Musabbeh Al Mheiri.

Fresu wasted no time completing a double, taking the following 1000m maiden on Sadn who unleashed a telling turn of foot in the final 250m to win going away for Yas Racing and Majed Al Jahoori.

Making just his second racecourse appearance and dirt debut, the 4yo homebred colt had shown speed before weakening over 2200m on debut on the Abu Dhabi turf and clearly relished this drop in trip and switch of surface.

Very rarely do the trio of owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, trainer Ernst Oertel and jockey Tadhg O’Shea leave Al Ain empty handed and they combined to hit the target in the finale, a 1000m handicap, with AF Hajeej who seemingly made every post a winning one having always been in pole position down the centre of the track.