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Connections of Bigg Hoping to Strike it Rich at Al Ain on Friday

Last Season`s Al Ain Mile Prep Winner Could Star for Lemartinel

Bigg N Rich developed something of a liking for Al Ain last season and is shaping up as the one to beat in Friday’s featured 1600m Conditions race at the track.

Trained by Eric Lemartinel, the Athbah Stud-owned Purebred Arabian was third on his seasonal debut at Abu Dhabi on November 9 over the same trip.

Twice victorious at Al Ain last season on a synthetic track, the switch to dirt should not inconvenience Lemartinel’s charge who has a previous victory on the surface to his credit.

Wayne Smith comes in for the ride on the horse who has to give weight to all his six rivals.

“I’m really looking forward to riding him again,” said Smith. “I did win on him a couple of years ago and he has improved a lot since then. Obviously we have a lot of weight but we have to be very hopeful.”

Smith’s mount seasonal reappearance was in a Ladies’ race at Abu Dhabi in which he was third, having looked the likely winner 400m from home before seemingly tiring in the closing stages.

The horse defeated BiggNRich on his seasonal reappearance was Molahen El Alhan who is in opposition again for the ever-powerful Ernst Oertel and Tadhg O’Shea combination. He has won five of eight career starts, three of them coming consecutively and he appears the main danger to Bigg N Rich.

Adding to his credentials is the fact that he also won on dirt at Sharjah last season so the surface should not be a problem.

“Ernst was very confident before that Abu Dhabi race,” said O’Shea. “The horse certainly did not let him down and it was a good performance. He has to go very close again.”

Oertel also saddles Wycked, the mount of Daniel Muscutt and eighth last time in the same Abu Dhabi race when Haajeb, to be ridden by Pat Dobbs for Yousef Al Bloushi, was sixth.

Quite A Show, trained by Doug Watson, looks certain to appreciate the switch to dirt having won all three of his starts on the surface in his native USA. He was fourth at Sharjah on his sole UAE dirt outing.

Watson also saddles Famous Warrior in the only Thoroughbred race, a 1400m handicap and he should go well under Pat Dobbs if he handles the surface.

At the bottom of the weights is Maltese Cat, the mount of Silvestre De Sousa, riding for his new main employer, Musabah Al Muhairi. He ran well enough on his seasonal reappearance and cannot be discounted in an open contest with the benefit of that outing.

He shares bottom weight with Black Snowflake. His trainer, Satish Seemar, has made a flying start to the season but the horse has yet to win in 15 UAE starts. Stable jockey, Richard Mullen, rides with stable apprentice, Marc Monaghan aboard stable companion Montmorency, who at least has a dirt victory to his name.

Dhruba Selvaratnam and new stable jockey, Oisin Murphy, had a winner at both Jebel Ali on Friday and Abu Dhabi on Sunday and their Tesslam has to be considered.

He has won three times on dirt but not since March 2012.