RB Frynch Dude saunters to feature race success as Al Ain hosts final meeting of the season

The very final meeting of the 2021/22 season at Al Ain on Friday evening was highlighted by the Al Ain Cup, a 2000m Prestige condition contest in which class prevailed, Group One winner RB Frynch Dude turning the race into a procession under Omani Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, sporting the silks of Byerley Racing for Helal Alalawi who trains nearby.

From the moment the pair hit the front on the home turn, with about 850m remaining, the result was never in any real doubt and they stormed clear early in the straight to win unchallenged.

It was a fifth success for the 6yo entire, his third in the UAE and first since his career highlight, over 1900m at Meydan, in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 of January 2021. This was his first appearance out of Group One company since that victory.

Initially first reserve, Samaal Al Gharibai took full advantage once granted a berth in the field in the opening 1400m maiden for fillies and mares, sent to the front fully 900m out by apprentice Marcelino Rodrigues and staying on strongly in resolute fashion for trainer Ahmed Al Mehairbi and Suhail Ali Sslmeen Ali Al Mazrouei who also bred the 4yo filly, opening her account at the fourth attempt.

Runner-up over 1200m on turf at Abu Dhabi on her debut in January, she had not built on that in two subsequent outings, one back in the capital, the most recent here at Al Ain over 1800m on her first dirt outing when 1800m was perhaps too far.

Hanging right across the track to the nearside rail under Omani apprentice Saif Al Balushi did not prevent RB Super Duty, owned and trained by Khalifa Al Neyadi, from claiming a 1600m handicap for horses in private ownership.

The 7yo entire was winning for the fourth time and on the second consecutive occasion having landed a 1000m handicap, also for private owners, on his previous start, three weeks ago here in Al Ain.

The jockey was soon celebrating a double, this time combining with Ahmad bin Harmash in the second colours of owner Sultan Ali aboard Tabaasheer in a 1600m maiden for 4yos.

Bred by Shadwell, the dirt debutant was winning at the fifth time of asking and on just his second start for current connections. Another for horses owned privately, a maiden over 1800m attracted a capacity field of 15 but very few were ever competitive, Smoke N Thunder ultimately running out a comfortable winner under Antonio Fresu for Naser Askar and Musabbeh Al Mheiri, the 5yo gelding making it third time lucky in a brief career to date.

Fifth on both previous career starts, over 1200m at Delaware in his native US in June last year, he filled the same berth on his local debut, over 1600m on the dirt at Meydan, just before Christmas, 99 days ago.

A 2000m maiden for 4yos foaled locally went the way of Farhaan, a colt homebred by Al Wathba Racing and trained on the track by Jean-Claude Pecout. Ridden by Sebastien Martino, he was due a victory having finished second on all three previous starts, each time here at Al Ain under Martino.

Sent for home early in the long straight by Martino, the colt responded gamely to his rider’s urgings and never looked likely to be caught despite a late challenge from AF Alsarem.

Riding for his main employer, Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and trainer Ernst Oertel, Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea made very post a winning one aboard homebred 6yo entire AF Mukhrej in a 2000m handicap.

The horse and O’Shea have enjoyed a prolific season together and this was actually their sixth victory during a busy campaign, a winning sequence that started in early December in a maiden at Sharjah.