A TOTAL of Dh500,000 is up for grabs during this Saturday’s programme at Al Ain, with a 2000m conditions contest for Purebred Arabians carrying the biggest purse of all. Connections will be vying for the Dh80,000 on offer in said event for 4yo and older horses that have not won more than once.
And it looks like Helal Alalawi’s Kalifano De Ghazal might be the one they’ll all be looking to beat as he returns to a surface where he crushed his rivals in a recent 1800m maiden event by over nine lengths. This might be a good place for the 4yo Dahess colt, but whether or not he gets the distance is something only time will reveal.
Still, he has plenty of experience in much better company having sampled four conditions events, albeit without any success in France last year before arriving to join Alalawi’s yard. Another to consider in this field is Indys Day, trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi for the bang in form Al Ajban Stables operation.
The 4yo Burning Sand colt has run thrice at Al Ain and shed his maiden tag here over 1600m in November, but his most recent run saw him finish fifth to stablemate Oxford in an 1800m conditions event on 8 January. That experience is likely to help him as he seemed stronger finishing which suggests the extra distance could be to his liking.
Gucci Girl is another Al Hammadi trainee who was tenth behind Oxford in that same race, but might be unsuited by the distance. The same goes for Majed Al Jahoori’s charge Rahaal Al Wathba, who also ran out of steam there.
Omani handler Ibrahim Al Hadhrami has been in top form too and fields Salb, whose only career win in numerous starts has been in a 2000m maiden here, which might draw a bit of attention on the 6yo son of Dormane. Al Hammadi’s Only Smoke and Al Hadhrami’s Pharitz Oubai look smart in a 1800m handicap, with Duc De Faust, another for the latter, having a course and distance victory from November 2019 to back his chances.
Only Smoke edged to a narrow victory in a 1600m conditions event at Meydan on 2 December and has a previous 1600m maiden win at Al Ain to show on his resume, while Pharitz Oubai won over track and trip twice before, his last start included.
However, the one that could really cause the rest real problems is Al Hammadi’s Ozone Layer, a 5yo son of Valiant Boy who has dominant back to back wins over the longer 2000m trip to show among his five career starts. Last seen finishing a close fourth on turf at Abu Dhabi on 10 January, Ozone Layer will be looking to do his mentor proud at what seems his favourite venue.
The only Thoroughbred contest on the card has drawn a tough divisional field too. A 2600m handicap for 3yo and older horses, the field has Bhupat Seemar’s Knockacullion as the top weight. The 6yo full son of Bernardini is yet to win after six starts in the UAE, but seems to have improved over his first two outings of this season both over the stiffer Jebel Ali surface.
He made his seasonal bow with a tenth in an 1800m handicap there and then chased home Attribution in third last week in a 1950m run. Alalawi dispatches the inconsistent Falcon Claws, who finished further afield in that race and has dropped in the ratings, a slide that has continued since his victory in a 1700m handicap at Sharjah last April.
Falcon Claws will be joined by stable companion Arabian Moon, a 5yo Al Kazeem gelding with a course and distance victory in a corresponding run last February to back his credentials. Obeyaan for Doug Watson might be the only other to draw attention to himself having warmed up for this with a sixth behind Sea Skimmer in a 2000m handicap here on 8 January.
Race 1: Mutefjr W’rsan
Race 2: Itchy De Nacre
Race 3 Majad Baynounah
Race 4 SS Izz Dubai (Nap)
Race 5 Mukhalad
Race 6 Wma Afar
Race 7 Arabian Moon