AFTER THE all Purebred Arabian card of last Friday that somewhat broke with tradition, Al Ain reverts back to old ways this week with another seven race programme that includes a lone Thoroughbred contest. Needless to say six of those seven runs are dedicated to Purebred Arabians and include four maidens. Combined, the seven race card is worth a total of Dhs490,000, split evenly over the evening. There is no clear feature in terms of prize money and by the looks of it the 1400m handicap for 4yo and above Purebred Arabians rated upto 60 stands out. It’s a rather tricky and open affair with No Riesgo Al Maury, trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami for Royal Cavalry Oman, the top weight in a field where the interest clearly runs deep, with Mohammed Daggash’s ES Nahawand, Jaahiz, trained by Eric Lemartinel, Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Opera and Oertel’s AF Arrab allto be considered likely candidates. Omani owned No Riesgo Al Maury, a 5yo son of Nizam, won his only UAE start in March last year over 1400m at Abu Dhabi, but was second twice in his only other career runs in Europe, which means, if race ready, he could be one to watch out for as he represents a yard that has made a reasonably good start to the season.
Daggash’s ES Nahawand appears one being rushed after racing here last weekend. A sort of late bloomer, this 8yo Big Easy horse has won two of his last four starts, which includes a victory at Al Ain over 2000m in March. He triumphed on his seasonal bow at Sharjah over 1700m but last week’s performance over 2000m here left much to be desired. Lemartinel’s Jaahiz and Taajer have cut inconsistent figures at Al Ain over varied trips, and the same can be said of Al Hammadi’s Opera, who, nevertheless, won a track and trip event here in April 2019 and hence might be respected for what he brings to the table. Moving on to the other Purebred Arabian handicap over 2000m, which also seems a rather open affair and Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s French import Al Capone Monlau should come forward from his UAE debut here over 1400m in which he was fifth last week.
The same can be said of Ahmed Al Mehairbi’s course and distance winner Aiz Alawda, who was 12th in his first run of the season at Sharjah and should improve for that run. Satish Seemar dispatches SS Jalmod, an Al Ain winner over 1400m in March 2019, who should finish among the money spots if he can somehow replicate the consistency shown over shorter trips. Elise Jeanne’s MH Wari is another that could put in a good performance having won at Al Ain last November, with AF Al Motamen perhaps Oertel’s best hope from the two he saddles. An Al Ain regular, the 5yo son of Al Kesbe, has won just one of his five starts at the venue: said race being a maiden over 1800m, when he was worked to the front 50m out by Tadhg O’Shea, who has opted to ride Oertel’s other dispatch AF Abahe, a dual winner at the track. Antonio Fresu gets the ride aboard AF Al Motamen. The only Thoroughbred affair on the card is a 2000m maiden in which Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s Al Motayar is top rated. Few others stand out like Erwan Charpy’s Wings Of Gold, Mohammed Hussain’s East Asia, Helal Al Alawi’s Bedouins Boy and Miracle Maker, trained by Salem bin Ghadayer.
Miracle Maker, a 3yo Paynter colt, might hold the key here, purely on grounds of experience and the fact his yard is currently flying high in the rankings. Although it must be said he didn’t have much to show for his efforts last season. However, a couple of fifth place finishes in his two starts at Jebel Ali this term should stand him in good stead and would have helped build towards Al Ain. East Asia should get the trip easily and his close third over 2600m here last season should be experience worth falling back on. Al Rayhi’s Al Motayar has never travelled to Al Ain before and has led a somewhat lukewarm existence. But going by his strong dirt pedigree, there remains hope. Having said that, the trip might be a bit out of his stamina range.