AL AIN-based conditioner Helal Alalawi will be hoping Autumn Pride can stretch make it two in two at Abu Dhabi when he steps behind the gates Sunday to contest the evening’s feature. The 5yo son of Teofilo picked up a first career success in a 2200m maiden at the track in March and although he arrives fresh to tackle a field with some strong divisional names in the 2400m handicap, which is the only Thoroughbred affair on the card, Alalawi will be looking for a bright start.
Alalawi’s charge took the monkey off his back on his 11th career start, but East Asia second in that race will be eager to avenge that length and a quarter defeat. The Mahmood Hussain trainee chased the winner all the way home and the extra furlong might come to the aid of the 6yo Iffraaj gelding who has had the benefit of two runs already this term.
And although those performances at Jebel Ali and then Al Ain left much to be desired, he should have been freshened up enough to put in a good show Sunday. Skygazer for the in form yard of Ali Rashid Al Rayhi might be another top candidate having scripted a course and distance success in January 2019, with a win at Sharjah over 2000m in February last year his best recent result.
Al Rayhi is currently the joint leader in the UAE Champion Trainer ranks alongside Salem bin Ghadayer and in the light of that the 9yo Echo Of Light gelding might still have it in him to make life even rosier for his veteran handler. Satish Seemar’s best hand in this could be Immortalised, who has won twice at Meydan over 2200m, most recently in January 2020, but whose previous travels to the UAE capital have yielded a best finish of sixth. He was seventh in a course and distance event in December 2017, but his form last season was much better than in previous years and that could aid a resurgence.
The most prized of the five Purebred Arabian contests on the card is the 1600m Rated Conditions event for 5yo and above mares rated 30-70 that have not won three races. Three stand out clearly in the field: Raghida, RB Dixie Honor and AF Mouthirah. Royal Cavalry Oman-owned Raghida is trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and is a course and distance winner like the others.
However, after bursting on the scene with victory on her competitive debut in March, her performances seem to have dipped drastically with a marginal upping in class. Eleventh on her seasonal bow in November, Al Hadrami can only hope the experience of stretching herself will help bring redemption. RB Dixie Honor, meanwhile, is an Alalawi trainee who started the season with a bang when taking out a course and distance win.
The 6yo Majd Al Arab mare was a poor 13th on her next outing over track and trip in December, but has a few good performances of the past here to rely on come Sunday evening. AF Mouthirah is a homebred by UAE Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda. Trained by Ernst Oertel, the 6yo daughter of AF Al Buraq won her first two career starts during the 2018/19 campaign.
Those have been her only two wins so far and include a track and trip success, but her performances thereafter have been tepid with a second in a Prestige handicap at Sharjah over 1200m in December 2019 the best she had to offer. Abdallah Al Hammadi’s stables have enjoyed a fair bit of form this term and the Emirati schooler lines up key candidates Salima Al Reef and Maaly Al Reef who have both won here over 1600m, in a 2200m handicap.
The latter might be slightly preferred over his stable companion having started the season with a victory over 2000m at Al Ain in November, with his versatility known from his aforementioned win over a mile in November 2019 here.