Namrood Seeks Second Consecutive UAE Victory at Al Ain Meeting

Al Ain Racecourse stage their penultimate fixture of the current season on Friday with a six race card, highlighted by a 1600m contest which has attracted a select field of four, headed by the very useful Namrood.

Trained at Al Asayl by Salem Al Ketbi for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the four-year-old and only colt among the quartet, was the impressive winner of the third and final round of the Arabian Triple Crown on the first day of the month.

That was over 2400m on the Abu Dhabi turf, so this 1600m dirt assignment is a totally different challenge but he does look to have a touch of class and the yard are seemingly confident enough that these different conditions can be overcome; Al Ketbi also had the option of running Shaheer, who beat Namrood in the middle round of the Arabian Triple Crown but have saved him for Sunday’s Arabian Derby at Abu Dhabi.

Namrood is conceding weight to his three rivals, courtesy of his big race win, whereas stable companion, Arwaah, is receiving weight from the other trio as she is a four-year-old filly.

She was one place behind Namrood in the middle round of the Arabian Triple Crown on what was her local bow. She won over 1400m in France so the drop in trip should not be an issue.

Both the Al Asayl duo are making their dirt debuts with Tadhg O’Shea choosing to partner the penalised Namrood with Shane Karlsson aboard Arwaah.

“We look to have two nice chances,” said stable jockey, O’Shea. “Obviously both are stepping back in trip but Namrood was a good second over 1600m on his final run in France. The horse who beat him then has won the Qatar Derby and an international Group One contest since in Doha so the form is very strong.

“Obviously his penalty adds to his task and Arwaah could be a threat on her second start locally as her first run was a good one. They both train well on dirt so hopefully the surface will be fine and it is a small field.

“Hopefully the yard can have a good day.”

He is also the only UAE winner in the field.

The other pair in the race are both trained by Eric Lemartinel with Oisin Murphy aboard Thaaniya, the only one of the quartet to have won over 1600m, with Wayne Smith on Manade Athbah.

Smith’s mount is the only one of the four to have raced on dirt, when failing to beat a rival in the middle round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, a Group One contest, in February.

Sheikh Khalifa and Al Ketbi also appear to hold all the aces in the main support race, a handicap over the same 1600m as the feature but restricted to fillies and mares.

O’Shea has elected to ride Afaal, who is conceding weight to her six rivals but has two victories on dirt on his CV, both at Sharjah, and has been running consistently well all season.

Again Karlsson rides the stable’s second string, this time Al Yawazi, who herself is giving weight to the remaining quintet. She too is a Sharjah dirt winner.