Gulf Today Report
Lahmoon, ridden by Royston Ffrench, wins a Thoroughbred race at Al Ain’s season opener.
Al Ain: Al Ain meeting will feature six purebred Arabians contest, each carrying a purse of Dhs.70,000, in its seven-race card on Friday.
No Riesgo Al Maury is favourite for the 1400m handicap, which promises to be the best among all purebred contest.
Ibrahim Al Hadhrami-trained and owned by for The Royal Cavalry of Oman No Riesgo Al Maury is set to make his dirt debut in his just fourth career start under apprentice jockey Abdul Aziz Al Balushi.
In his previous three starts, all on the turf, he landed glory in a 1400m stakes in Abu Dhabi for his maiden victory and ended as a runner-up on the other two occasions.
Hadhrami said: “He is a nice horse who has not had much racing. We were obviously very pleased when he won and hope he handles the dirt.
The trainer added: “He does have a big weight, but the apprentice jockey’s claim should help offset that. We are looking forward to trying him on the new surface; if he handles it we will have more options. If not we will stick to turf.”
The trainer also saddles Pharitz Oubai, to be ridden by Szczepan Mazur who was in the saddle when No Riesgo Al Maury won at Abu Dhabi.
Mazur’s mount, a gelded 5-year-old, was third, under the Polish jockey, in a maiden over 1800m here at Al Ain just six days ago. The same pairing chased home ES Nahawand, back in opposition, in a 2000m Al Ain handicap on his final start last season.
Mazur said: “The yard has two good chances. My fellow may be a maiden still, but he always runs well and likes the Al Ain track.”
The triumvirate of Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, his retained rider, Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea and main trainer, Ernst Oertel, always merit respect in these races and they combine with AF Arrab. Homebred, the 5-year-old entire has two career victories to his name; including his latest start over 1600m on the Abu Dhabi turf. His maiden success was on dirt, over 1700m at Sharjah and he has run well at Al Ain before.
This will actually be his third appearance already of the new season and O’Shea said: “He actually disappointed us a bit at Sharjah before winning the following week at Abu Dhabi. We think he is improving and this looks a good race for him as he gets in with a relatively low weight.
The jockey added: “We actually have three in the race and these choices are never easy because they all have some kind of chance. I will be happy whoever wins because we are a team.”
The stable companions to whom O’Shea alludes are AF Hajeej and AF Tathoor, the mounts of Richard Mullen and Antonio Fresu respectively.
The race in which AF Arrab was well beaten at Sharjah was won by ES Nahawand who will again be ridden by Fernando Jara for Mohamed Daggash.
An 8-year-old entire, that was his third career victory, second at Sharjah and he is an Al Ain winner over 2000m. He was, however, well beaten on his one subsequent outing after the Sharjah success, also at Al Ain over 2000m, just last weekend.
For His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Eric Lemartinel saddles Zakher, Taajer and Jaahiz, Fabrice Veron choosing to partner the last named. Abdallah Al Hammadi has made a bright start to the new campaign and, seeking a fifth winner of the season, also has three chances. The presence of Connor Beasley aboard Opera suggests the 5-year-old mare is the main hope ahead of stable companions Blue Diamond and Gold Crest.
The single Thoroughbred contest, a 2000m maiden which has attracted a field of 12, looks wide open in a race the majority of runners have already had at least six chances to open their account.
The main exception is debutant Anizzah, making his very belated racecourse bow as a 5-year-old for Ahmad bin Harmash with Fernando Jara in the saddle. A gelded son of Oasis Dream, his pedigree offers plenty of hope and he should have ability as he is a full-brother to the year younger Azano, a Group Three winner. The fact he has not yet been seen in public has to be a concern though and his trainer is still seeking a first winner this season after saddling just three during the last campaign.
East Asia has at least been placed in half of his ten starts and should be thereabouts under Antonio Fresu for Mahmood Hussain. The 5-year-old gelding is owned by Sayed Hashish as is stablemate Act Of Reason, having just his fourth start and a 4-year-old Dark Angel gelding seemingly facing his weakest test to date.