Mile Prep Features at Al Ain Saturday Meeting

Racing returns to Al Ain on Saturday for a six race card highlighted by the1600m Al Ain Mile Prep which may have only attracted six runners, but looks competitive nonetheless with Al Asalyl trainer, Salem Al Ketbi, responsible for two of them.

Stable and Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, chooses to ride Burj Khalifa, already a winner on the Al Ain dirt this season in a 2000m conditions contest. He was then well beaten in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 at Meydan before returning to Al Ain. He was then narrowly denied over 3200m when caught close home having tried to make all.

Shane Karlsson rides stable companion, Najm Alemarat, a mount untried on dirt (a surface which should suit on pedigree).

“Our two are actually full-brothers,” said O’Shea. “We know the Al Ain surface really suits Burj Khalifa but in an ideal world he would prefer an extra 400m but there are no upcoming options for him so this was the obvious alternative.

“I will have to be positive on him and try and utilise his stamina and gutsy attitude.

“Najm Alemarat has been off since early January and may just benefit from the outing but is a nice horse and should handle the surface.

“They should both run well.”

None of their four opponents have won on dirt with the weights headed by Ghadeer, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and the mount of Dane O’Neill, riding for his main employer HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

O’Neill rides Ghadeer because the owner’s first jockey, Paul Hanagan, has chosen to ride dirt debutant Tatweer who will be having only his second start in the UAE. Well beaten on his local debut, he is surely capable of better and looks an interesting new recruit.

Sheikh Hamdan, Hanagan and Charpy combined to win the Group 2 Bani Yas at Meydan on Thursday with Manark, having his second local start having been well beaten first time at Abu Dhabi and making his dirt debut.

Al Raihe also saddles Ainhoa Madjanis, the mount of stable jockey, Royston Ffrench and, like his stable companion, Ghadeer, having only his second start on dirt.

French duo, trainer Eric Lemartinel and jockey Gerald Avranche, combine with Simbar Du Loup, yet another trying dirt for only the second time.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1600m handicap, has attracted a full field of 15 and looks wide open. Pollination, winner of his sole start in the UK, showed promise on his local debut in a 1400m Jebel Ali handicap for Ismail Mohammed. Stable jockey, Wayne Smith, again takes the ride.

Doug Watson and Pat Dobbs are enjoying a fantastic season and combine with Famous Warrior who has been running well in defeat recently after a spell in the doldrums.

He looks poised for another big run but is not well drawn, in 12, for one who likes to race prominently.

Richard Mullen and Satish Seemar are another combination enjoying a great campaign and their representative, On War, certainly cannot be ruled out.