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Ali Rashid The Kingmaker - Emirati Trainer`s Development of UAE Talent

Multiple UAE Champion Handler On His Picks Of 2012/13

Emirati trainer, Ali Rashid Al Raihe, possesses an impressive CV. Under ‘previous achievements`, Al Raihe can include a 2010 Group 1 success in the Dubai World Cup day US$5m Dubai Duty Free with Al Shemali and a haul of UAE pattern races.

He has been UAE champion trainer since 2009 when he wrestled the title from former incumbent, Doug Watson, and his Grandstand Stables has long turned out a production line of battle-ready Emirati racing professionals.

Alumni from the unofficial Al Raihe School of Horseracing include Godolphin’s multiple Classic-winning trainer, Mahmood Al Zarooni, six-time Group/Grade 1-winning jockey, Ahmed Ajtebi and up-and-coming apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei.

Yet despite all this success, Al Raihe, a trainer of 28 years, has one thing left on his to do list.

“My aim is to take a horse to the Dubai World Cup,” said Al Raihe. “And if we get a horse in the World Cup then of course my aim would be to try and win it.”

Al Raihe and his team, including assistant, Jilani Siddiqui, and long-time stable jockey, Royston Ffrench, condition 77 horses at the Meydan Racecourse-based yard. Among those are a number of stable stars, some of whom Al Raihe will be watching closely for any signs of World Cup credentials over the coming season.

“People don`t bring us the kind of horses that can get straight into the World Cup,” said the trainer. “Instead we must build them up over the season to hopefully raise their rating enough to run in the big races.”

Al Raihe has a proven track record in this area. Sprinter Happy Dubai was rated 76 when he first came to Grandstand Stables, now he`s 112 and has contested the World Cup day Al Quoz Sprint as well as the Krisflyer Sprint in Singapore. Zain Shamardal, a regular at the Dubai World Cup Carnival started with a rating of 89 and this season is 105.

Two to watch this season are Sharaayeen and Rutland Boy, currently both rated 100.

“We will see how they go over 2000m and go from there,” said Al Raihe.

Yet even without a World Cup runner, Al Raihe has enjoyed plenty of highlights over the last few years, taking scalps from the Carnival`s biggest international players, with South Africa’s Mike De Kock falling victim to the Emirati`s ever more powerful string.
Derbaas topped off a four-race winning streak with victory over De Kock`s Raihana in the 2011 Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort while First City touched off De Kock`s stable star, Mahbooba, in the Group 2 Balanchine by a nose a year later.

But it was Tropical Star who started Al Raihe off on the road to big-race success back in 2006 when the handsome sprinter took out two Group 3 dirt races at Nad al Sheba, the Mahab Al Shimaal and the Al Shindagha Sprint.

For this season Al Raihe is looking forward to existing stars like Garbah and Il Grande Maurizio as well as the stable debuts of a handful of new recruits.

UAE owner, Jaber Abdullah has sent four new horses to Al Raihe, including Group 3 Irish 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes runner up, Akeed Wafi, the unexposed Tamaam and maidens Desert of Dreams and Blue Sea. Ahmed al Sheikh has sent the trainer two, Ana Emaratiya and Desert Philosopher while Khalid Al Naboodah has added three maidens to Al Raihe`s string, including National Flag, who has raced once in Abu Dhabi, Gunboat and Latkhaf.

Yet despite his success, Al Raihe remains humble. “It`s a team effort,” he said. “I am only one part of it. Everybody here works hard to get these horses to the track. And ultimately we are only here thanks to the vision and support of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.”

Ali Rashid Al Raihe Profile

Nationality: Emirati

Stable: Grandstand Stable

Years Training: Al Raihe began training informally in the desert in 1984 and received his first license in 1994.

Highlights: Ali Rashid Al Raihe has maintained a stranglehold over the UAE Trainers` Championship for the last three seasons with victories in 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12. He has also claimed his fair share of Dubai World Cup Carnival Group races with success in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimal and Al Shindagha Sprint with Tropical Star in 2006 and 2007 and two Group 2 victories in the 2011 Al Fahidi Fort with Derbaas and the 2012 Cape Verdi with First City. Al Raihe`s most memorable victory to date is the 2010 Dubai Duty Free which he claimed with Al Shemali.