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Al Ain Stages Purebred Arabian Conditions Race at Second Meeting

Bigg N Rich Could Put Doyle and Lemartinel in the Money

The second meeting ever at Al Ain on Friday afternoon is highlighted by a 1600m conditions race and the maximum field of 14 have been declared on the track’s new all-weather surface.

Abu Dhabi based Frenchman Eric Lemartinel looks to hold a strong hand with two runners, including Bigg N Rich, a course and distance winner in a similar race at the first meeting four weeks ago.

He will be ridden, as he was then, by James Doyle with Ted Durcan partnering stable companion, Albar Lotois, one of two Group 1 winners in the field. Winner of the middle round of the Al Maktoum Challenge last year, Durcan’s mount has not won since but is taking a big drop in class here.

Lemartinel said: “Bigg N Rich won well at Al Ain’s first meeting and seemed to really like the surface. He should go close again, while Albar Lotois is probably better over further but should be competitive in this company.”

Runner-up to Bigg N Rich a month ago was the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained AF Lafeh, third in the 1600m opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge three starts ago. Stable jockey Royston Ffrench, who boasts a 50 per cent strike rate at Al Ain having ridden three of the six winners at the first meeting, again rides.

Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel, who saddled a double at Abu Dhabi on Sunday and has his team in great form, is responsible for three of the 14 runners with stable jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, choosing to ride Richlore. He produced a career best when third behind Bigg N Rich and AF Lafeh at the first meeting.

O’Shea said: “Ernst’s horses have been running well all season and Richlore really enjoyed the Al Ain surface last time and it was a good effort. He obviously needs to improve again but has been working well.”

Stable companion, Fryvolous was fifth behind Bigg N Rich last time and will again be ridden by apprentice Daniel Muscutt, with Adrie De Vries aboard Oertel’s third runner, TM Junior Johnson.

The all conquering Majed Al Jahouri saddles two with Harry Bentley aboard Thakif looking a stronger contender then Merzal, the mount of UAE apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei.

Bigg N Rich is not the only Al Ain winner seeking a second course success and, earlier on the card, the Helal Al Alawi-trained AF Tharb takes his chance in a 1400m handicap, 200m shorter than the 1600m over which he won last time.

The only Thoroughbred race is a 1600m handicap and Al Farahidi, trained by Abdulla bin Huzaim, must have leading claims after his course and distance second behind Need To Know a month ago. Need To Know has won and finished second since so the form looks strong and the 3kgs claim of Saeed Al Mazrooei is another positive.

The Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Colour Guard, the mount of Wayne Smith was fourth in the race won by Need To Know and certainly seemed to handle the surface.

Adrie De Vries rides Ormindo for his main employer, Ahmad bin Harmash, and could prove a big danger.

He won a 1600m handicap at Meydan on his most recent start, when chased home by Teslin, one of three in this race for Satish Seemar.