The fifth and final of the UAE’s five racecourses to join the new season party, Al Ain kick off with a seven race card which, as is typical of the youngest local track, appears fiendishly tricky for those playing the ever popular tipping competitions. As is tradition, the Thoroughbreds only have the one opportunity to flex their muscles, on this occasion in a 1000m handicap for which the maximum field allowed of 15 will face the starter. The weights are headed by Town’s History, seeking to provide trainer Qaiss Aboud just a second career winner to add to the April 2019 success of Sugar Boy on the Abu Dhabi turf.
A 6yo gelded son of Hard Spun, Aboud’s charge started his career in Britain for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin, winning two of his seven outings, one on the all-weather, the second, on his final start in the royal blue, on the Ripon turf. He then joined Satish Seemar, scoring on his third local outing in a 2000m turf handicap at Meydan. That was in January 2017 and remains his most recent taste of victory; after four more attempts for Seemar, he was off the track for 596 days before five runs for Mohd Ramadan, coincidentally the final one in the aforementioned Abu Dhabi race won by now stable companion Sugar Boy. Well beaten on his seasonal return and stable debut, over 1400m at Jebel Ali, connections will be hoping he shows a liking for Al Ain on this first visit.
So Hi Speed certainly has the moniker to win a 1000m dash but has yet to win after nine starts, just one in the UAE having previously been saddled in Newmarket by Robert ‘sprint king’ Cowell. A 3yo gelded son of Central Banker, he was thrice second at Southwell, offering hope the Al Ain surface might suit him but, on his local debut and first start since purchased by trainer Helal Al Alawi, he failed to beat any of his nine rivals in a 1200m Jebel Ali maiden. That is a totally different test to the one he faces here with a steep incline at Jebel Ali nothing like the flat track of Al Ain. Another yet to live up to his name, Rich And Famous at least arrives in decent form having been denied close home, over 1400m, at Jebel Ali on his sole outing to date this season.
Saddled by Salem bin Ghadayer for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohd, that was his eighth, and by far best, outing since leaving the care of Mark Johnston for whom he won twice, both over 1200m. More conservatively ridden, the 5yo Bernardini gelding would likely have won at Jebel Ali a fortnight ago when he showed plenty of early speed suggesting conditions here in the garden city may suit him. A caveat to that though would have to be the fact that he twice ran over 1000m for Johnston, finishing behind an aggregate 23 rivals, all of them! The trip is certainly not an issue for Satish Seemar duo Bedaveeya, a 1000m winner at Sharjah last November and eighth, in the same race this year, behind stable companion One Season who is again in opposition.
The former failed to fire at Al Ain last season, over 1000m and 1400m whereas connections will be hoping One Season, a 4yo Showcasing gelding, can make his first course outing a winning one. That is a feat he achieved at both Meydan, on racecourse debut over 1400m as a 2yo in December 2017 and a fortnight ago at Sharjah. He did, however, blot his copybook in that matter when stone last on his sole Jebel Ali appearance, albeit over 1600m. Six races for the Purebred Arabians are seemingly highlighted by a handicap over 1800m which looks wide open. For Royal Cavalry Oman and Ibrahim Al Hadgrami, Duc De Faust has posted both career victories over 1600m on the Abu Dhabi turf but tends to run well here at Al Ain.
Inthar, for his owner and trainer Khalifa Al Neyadi, will be having his third outing already this campaign after a 2200m appearance at Abu Dhabi a week before dropping 1000m to contest a Sharjah sprint. Two of his three visit’s to the winner’s enclosure have been on this track and he certainly should not be lacking for race fitness. All representing various powerful Purebred Arabian connections, Raniah, AF Taraha, Jeemi, RB Grynade and Hazeme are just another handful of names to throw into a mix which, were it a recipe, would need an awful lot of stirring to get the desired result as Pick Six players will be hoping.