Sprinters in the Al Ain limelight Friday

Al Ain hosts not only their penultimate fixture of the season but also that of the whole UAE campaign on Friday evening, seven races officially highlighted by the Al Ain Sprint, a 1000m dash with Prestige status and for which nine have been declared.

Majed Al Jahoori saddles a pair of runners for Yas Racing, Bernardo Pinheiro appearing to prefer the chances of Leena, one of four mares in the field. The 6yo made a winning local debut, under Pinheiro, in a handicap over this course and distance in November 2021. She doubled her career tally on her penultimate start in a 1200m conditions contest on the dirt surface at Meydan Racecourse.

They were then runner-up, six weeks ago, in a similar race, again over this track and trip and she had filled the same position on the start prior to her aforementioned 1200m success in a handicap over this Al Ain 1000m.

Al Jahoori has booked apprentice Marcelino Rodrigues for his second runner, Maahir, making just his fifth racecourse appearance and seeking a second success having landed a 1200m Sharjah maiden, under Pinheiro, on his second career outing. The 4yo and Pinheiro have not been beaten far in either subsequent outing, both on the Abu Dhabi turf.

Both times Leena finished second under these conditions, either side of that Meydan Racecourse success, she chased home Marmara Xm who was herself third in that 1200m contest at the UAE’s flagship racecourse.
Trained by Mohamed Daggash for Liwa Stables, the 7yo mare also won over this track and trip at the very beginning of the season at the end of October. Regular pilot Sandro Paiva is not riding this weekend with Antonio Fresu taking over in the saddle.

For his main employer, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and the Champion Owner’s principal trainer, Ernst Oertel, Tadhg O’Shea partners AF Majalis, yet to win on dirt, albeit after just two previous efforts, but six times successful on the turf at Abu Dhabi.

The 7yo entire has a small penalty to over come, as does Heros De Lagarde, Richard Mullen in the saddle for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami. He too has only won on turf, on debut over 1200m in February 2021 but arrives here in good form. Third on his two initial starts this season, notably the 1400m Group 2 Bani Yas on his seasonal bow in November, he has gone one place closer in both his two most recent outings, the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah and Group 3 Al Ain Mile, both over 1600m on dirt.

Trained on the Al Ain track by Jean de Roualle for Al Wathba Racing, Sadiq Al Wathba, a 4yo colt making just his fourth racecourse appearance, was a 1000m Sharjah victor on debut at the end of October.
He was, however, well behind both Marmara Xm and Leena on his latest outing but did finish just in front of AF Majalis.