Al Ain And Shadwell Link Again

Breeding giant supports Fillies and Mares

AL AIN RACECOURSE’S rescheduled penultimate meeting of the current season on Thursday will feature the Shadwell-sponsored Al Muwaiji Handicap (1600m), restricted to Purebred Arabian fillies and mares.

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) youngest venue and the prolific sponsor had been set to link for the first time last week before persistent heavy rain forced that fixture’s cancellation.

Leading Purebred Arabian trainer Eric Lemartinel’s Al Asayl Stables is staking a strong claim for the AED 80,000 prizemoney fielding five runners in the 15 strong field.

Championship leading jockey Tadhg O’Shea faced a difficult selection dilemma before opting to switch rides from Al Yawazi, whom he was booked to ride last week, to Al Jazi, who was not in the original field seven days ago.

“It was a very difficult choice with five in the race,” said O’Shea. “I narrowed it down to Al Yawazi and Al Jazi, opting for the latter purely because she is far less exposed.
“She had an Abu Dhabi option also last week so was not declared in this race.
“This will be just her third start and she has done nothing wrong. Hopefully the return to 1600m will suit as she seemed not to stay the 1800m last time.”

Dane O’Neill picks up the ride on Al Yawazi while Wayne Smith’s mount, Estourah, looks another Lemartinel runner with a big chance in the contest.

Al Wathba Stables, the UAE’s other Purebred Arabian powerhouse, will be represented by the Nacer Samiri-trained Gozla’An, to be ridden by Richard Mullen.
This is set to be the five-year-old’s eighth start of the campaign and her fourth on dirt, a surface she has been well beaten on at her three previous attempts.

Surface is not an issue for the Helal Al Alawi-trained Yamina De Monlau, winner of a course and distance maiden in January when ridden by Royston Ffrench who will be back aboard

Mullen, last season’s Champion Jockey, will ride the Satish Seemar-trained Ru’Oud in the Al Khaznah Handicap (1400m), the only Thoroughbred race on the card.

The eight-year-old gelding was a course and distance winner at the end of January before struggling when switched to Meydan and stepped up to 1600 metres

The return to Al Ain should suit, while his stable companion, evergreen ten-year-old, Montmorency, ran very well when third over 1200 metres at Sharjah on his latest outing just five days ago.

The Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Tagseed who won that race is back in opposition again with Paul Hanagan taking over in the saddle from Dane O’Neill who switches to stablemate, Entifaadha.

Jebel Ali trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam, enjoying his best campaign since the 2011/12 season, will be represented by the Chris Hayes-ridden Here Now who may appreciate the flatter surface following two unplaced efforts at his home track since arriving from the United Kingdom.