Racing Returns To Al Ain

Purebred feature a puzzle for leading jockey

Al Ain stage their second meeting of the season on Saturday afternoon with an 1800m Purebred Arabian handicap the most valuable contest on a seven race card.

Twelve have been declared to run including three trained by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The season`s current leading jockey Tadhg O’Shea has chosen to ride Madjanthat, leaving Gerald Avranche to partner Najm Alemarat and Royston Ffrench picking up the spare ride on RB Rich Surprise.

“It certainly was not an easy choice to make,” said O’Shea. “All three have a good chance in an open race.
“Najm Alemarat has won his last three, including two at Al Ain, but he does have 60kgs to carry which has to be a slight concern.

“I won an Al Ain maiden on RB Rich Surprise last season so he certainly does not mind the surface but I elected for Madjanthat who has plenty of ability and is another proven on the track.

“Both his wins have been achieved at Al Ain, once on the old surface and one on the dirt. He was staying on well over 1600m last time so the extra trip should suit.
“Hopefully I have picked the right one.”

Nacer Samiri also trains three runners in the race, all owned by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and each with some kind of chance.

Ghalib to be ridden by Pat Dobbs is set to carry the owner’s first colours and both his UAE victories have been achieved on this course.

Most recently he won over 1600m on the dirt, having also won over 1800m on the previous all-weather surface.

His stable companions, dirt debutant Awam and Eskandar will be ridden by Wayne Smith and Richard Mullen respectively.

Mullen’s mount will be having only his second career start having won a 1600m course maiden on his only previous outing. That was at Al Ain’s first meeting of the season, three weeks ago.

Arguably the easiest winner at that first Al Ain meeting was Latifa Princess who was far too good for 12 rivals in a 1000m handicap.
If the extra 400m does not catch her out, she should be very hard to beat in the opening 1400m handicap with Sam Hitchcott again booked for the ride by trainer Veronika Aske.

The only Thoroughbred contest, a 1000m handicap, looks wide open. Mutahaddith trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe was the impressive winner of Jebel Ali maiden, also over 1000m, on his seasonal return.

Stable jockey O’Shea rides again and said: “He was entitled to win that maiden as he had the best form going into the race.
“This will be a lot tougher but he seems in good form and we are hoping for a bold show.”

The weights are headed by Dairam, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, takes the ride.

When last seen, in January, Hanagan’s mount was a very close third in a Meydan handicap and a repeat of that effort would see him go very close here.