2000m Handicap Highlights First Al Ain Meeting Of 2018 Friday

Al Ain Racecourse, the most recent addition to the UAE roster, stages its first meeting of 2018 on Friday evening with a seven race card, highlighted by a 2000m handicap. Ten have been declared, with four to be saddled by Eric Lemartinel for His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At the top of the weights is RB Rich Surprise, the choice of jockey Tadhg O’Shea.

RB Rich Surprise has six wins to his name, with five of those under O’Shea, including his only previous attempt at this trip – a course and distance maiden in March 2015.

On his penultimate start, he chased home stable companion Tahany, who is again in opposition and the mount of Gerald Avranche.

That was here at Al Ain, over 1600m, the distance of both her career victories. Tahany has yet to prove her stamina for this trip, having twice failed to stay 2200m at Abu Dhabi, where she won her maiden.

Jesus Rosales partners Deyaar with Jose Santiago aboard RB Inferno to complete Lemartinel’s quartet from Al Asayl Stables.

O’Shea said: “The team do like to give me these tough choices every week and Al Asayl do look to have a very strong hand again. I have won five times on RB Rich Surprise, who has had three weeks since his last run and seems fresh and well. Over this trip, he seemed the best option.”

Local debutant Waadh, trained on the track by Jean de Roualle, will be having his first race on dirt after six runs in France, including a victory over 1900m. The trip should suit him and he works on this surface in the mornings. If acting on it in a race, he looks a big danger to the Al Asayl runners. Richard Mullen rides for Yas Horse Racing Management.

“He has been pleasing connections at home,” Mullen said. “Hopefully he will handle the conditions in a race but you never know if they will until you try.”

RB Goliath, representing the Helal Al Alawi and Pat Cosgrave combination that has enjoyed such a fruitful part of the season, could be best of the rest.

The only Thoroughbred contest is also a 2000m handicap and the maximum field allowed of 15 will face the starter. As the numbers would suggest, it appears wide open with Mullen again appearing to have a live chance. Stable jockey to Satish Seemar, he rides the trainer’s Jintshi.

Yet to win in the UAE, Mullen’s mount was a good second at Sharjah on his penultimate start, a repeat of which should see him go close here.

Mullen said: “He should at least be competitive in a very tough race and seems in good form at home.”

O’Shea, from three runners trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, has opted to ride Cherkes Pharoah, a maiden after just five starts.

Stable apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei rides Skygazer, a course and distance maiden winner in February 2016 who has won three times since: at Sharjah, Jebel Ali and Jinma Lake (China) as recently as April.

Salem bin Ghadayer and Royston Ffrench combined for a treble at Jebel Ali last Friday and their Untold Secret will be a big danger if replicating the form of his runner-up effort in the very first race of the season at Jebel Ali behind stable companion, Aslan. However, Ffrench’s mount has disappointed twice subsequently.

Seeking a first winner from him his Al Ain base, Danny Murphy will have been delighted Rostam scraped in as the last of the 15 runners and he looks a live threat under Connor Beasley on what will be just his fourth start.