Karlsson Lands Al Ain Mile Prep on Najm Alemarat

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Al Ketbi Charge Returns to Winning Ways

Al Ain’s ninth meeting of the season on Friday afternoon featured the 1600m Al Ain Mile Prep and jockey Shane Karlsson double his UAE account with a hard fought success on the ultra game Najm Alemarat, winning for the fist time in almost two years.

Settled in third behind early leader Zaffaan and Burj Khalifa, a stable companion of the eventual winner, Karlsson sent his mount to the front along way out. First Alameer and then RB Smokin Rich, like Najm Alemarat also trained by Salem Al Ketbi, loomed large as dangers but Karlsson’s mount would not be denied, running on very bravely.

“He has had to be very tough to win that, said Karlsson. “We know he stays further so I was happy to commit a long way out and every time I have asked him he has responded and found more.

“It is a great opportunity for me with Mr Al Ketbi at Al Asayl and I am really enjoying it.”

The only Thoroughbred contest, a 1400m handicap, produced a thrilling finish with Initial, Nathr and Black Snowflake all in contention with only 100m left. The last named, partnered by Richard Mullen for his main employer, Satish Seemar, had led at about the 300m and ran on grimly, denying Nathr in a photo finish.

It was a first UAE victory for the horse whose previous win, as a two-year-old, was registered at Glorious Goodwood in August 2009. It was his 20th start locally.

“I was not really sure what to expect today,” said Mullen. “He always works well and did a particularly strong piece of work last time we galloped him. He has taken to this surface well and was very game close home.”

Mullen wasted little time completing a double, landing a 1400m handicap on the Elise Jeanne-trained MH Areeb who was recording a third career success. Another winner who was always chasing the early pace, Mullen had to work hard to get his mount to the front close home, leading in the final 50m to deny AF Asefah.

“We were hopeful of a good run,” said Jeanne “This horse does not know how to run a bad race and deserved to get his head back in front.”

The meeting opened with a 2000m handicap which went the way of Chase Me, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and ridden by stable apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei. The pair settled in fourth behind the early leaders before the jockey asked his mount for an effort as the runners swung into the long straight.

They hit the front with about 300m to go and they battled on strongly to deny Maghazi.

“I was always pretty happy in behind,” said Al Mazrooei. “He responded well in the straight and ran on very gamely once we were in front.”

Oisin Murphy was seen at his strongest in the following 1600m maiden, driving HK Yazoom to a narrow victory over RB Rich Surprise who had been involved in a titanic battle throughout the duration of the straight.

Just as RB Rich Surprise looked to have the race won, Ajjaj fought back again but neither had any answer to Murphy’s mount, having only his second career start and first on dirt.
Trained by Saifaldin Deeb, he should improve a lot for this experience and passed at least nine rivals in the long straight
“They went pretty hard up front and I could not get across from my wide draw,” said Murphy. “He was pretty green in the early stages but the penny dropped as we entered the straight and he ran on well.

“Given his inexperience, he has done well to get there.”
It was the horse’s first win since December 2010, when he completed an Abu Dhabi hat-trick and this was his first victory on dirt.

The finale, a 1000m handicap dash, was won by Majd Abu Dhabi who led close home under apprentice Marc Monaghan, riding for Hardy Hotger and denying ES Maydan in the process.