A SEVEN race card is the offering at Al Ain with a 1400m handicap for Purebred Arabians nominated as the feature event of the evening. The race is one of six Purebred Arabian contests on a card that also features a standalone 1600m handicap for Thoroughbreds.
Looking at the aforementioned 1400m handicap for Purebred Arabians first and there’s plenty with appeal starting with Eric Lemartinel’s top rated but misfiring RB Grynade, who carries the colours of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE president. The 7yo son of Burning Sand has just won twice here in 16 attempts when shedding his maiden status over course and distance in December 2017 and more recently in April 2019 when winning in commanding fashion over 1800m.
Only just beaten by a head by the progressive Onward in January last year and then a dismal eighth over course and distance on his season opening run behind AF Ramz, who also runs here, this might be a good place for him to pick up a first success for the season.
Speaking of the Khalifa Al Neyadischooled AF Ramz and he seems to like it in the Oasis City. He’s won thrice here, twice over 1400m, which includes a massive 16 and a half length victory, but the experience of that last track and trip triumph should come in handy as Al Neyadi looks to add to this season’s tally of seven wins.
Trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami for Royal Cavalry Oman, Al Mobher seems more likely a candidate for a sprint than something this distance although it must be said that he did take out a 1400m turf handicap at Abu Dhabi in November 2018. That was a good season for him and brought him his only other career victory in a 1000m sprint here.
Anther notable name is Marzaga, last year’s Emirates Fillies Classic winner at Abu Dhabi. That turf success came hot on the heels of a 1600m dirt win at Al Ain. Moving on to the 1800m handicap and the winner should come from the quintet comprising Samau Xmnsor, Sharkh and Dream De Montjoi.
The last three have triumphed over course and distance here after hard fought battles, with Al Ain-based Helal Alalawi’s Sharkh scripting the most recent of those wins when scoring in November by a short head. Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Dream De Montjoi won by a nose here in March so clearly likes the track.
Al Hadhrami’s Samau Xmnsor, won on debut here over 1600m and then found the 1400m trip of the Abu Dhabi Colts Classic a bit too short on his last run in December. The 1000m sprint could go to Al Neyadi’s AF Almajhaz, a course and distance winner in November. The remaining three Purebred Arabian contests are maidens over 1800m, 1600m and 1000m distances, while the 1600m handicap for Thoroughbreds is a definite head scratcher and includes a field that transcends divisions.
Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s yard has shown strong form thus far and the Emirati handler is currently joint top on the UAE Champion Trainers’ leaderboard alongside compatriot Salem bin Ghadayer. The pair have runners nominated and it will be interesting to see if Faith And Fortune can replicate last month’s massive course and distance success.
Opponents of the 5yo Cityscape gelding were nowhere to be found when he raced past the post, with second placed Wings Of Gold finishing a massive 12 lengths behind. He came undone in a turf run a fortnight later but with nearly a month in between he should have freshened well and is a clear threat.
Erwan Charpy’s Insaan has shown improvement this term with a third following his fourth at Jebel Ali over 1600m earlier on, while AlAlawi’a Nimer was fourth twice over 1200m at the same venue this season. Bin Ghadayer sends out Lahmoom who sprinted to victory in a 1000m contest here in October, a result that suggests this extra ground might prove a little too much.
Ahmed Al Shemaili’s Miniaturist was third behind Faith And Fortune and failed to find anything extra on that occasion, but the 8yo Shamardal gelding was impressive and showed great resolve in winning by a neck from Naaeebb over 1700m at Sharjah in October and he will be looking back to that performance to inspire him in his bid for revenge and glory.