Hammadi, Lemartinel well presented in Al Ain feature - GulfToday

Hammadi, Lemartinel well presented in Al Ain feature

Horse Racing

Tadhg O’Shea chooses to ride Eric Lemartinel-trained RB Grynade in the first leg of the Al Ain Marathon Series.

Seven races at Al Ain on Friday, all for Purebred Arabians, are highlighted by a 3200m handicap, the First Leg of the Al Ain Marathon Series, for which ten have been declared, the weights headed by marathon regular Balad Al Reef and his stable companion Sharaf Al Reef.

Both are trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi for Al Ajban Stables with the former, the mount of Connor Beasley, thrice successful in the Al Ain Marathon Series Final, a 5200m Prestige Handicap. Now a 10-year-old, he has actually contested this race in each of the last five years, finishing second in 2016 and third both the following years, but well beaten in the two most recent renewals.

Meanwhile, Sharaf Al Reef, the veteran among the field as a 12-year-old and to be ridden by Gerald Avranche, has reserved his very best efforts for the Abu Dhabi turf, his six career victories including the 2016 Group 3 National Day Cup over 1600m and, over 200m shorter, the 2019 Group 2 Liwa Oasis.

Avranche’s mount has yet to make the first three in five dirt outings so, representing the same connections under Bernardo Pinheiro, Hareer Al Reef appears to hold more obvious claims. The ‘baby’ of the Al Ajban Stables’ trio, the 8-year-old was second in this last year when trying to defend the crown he won in 2019, the only two occasions he has run over 3200m.

Hammadi said: “They are three nice horses and we do like running ours in these marathons at Al Ain. Hareer Al Reef has a good record in them, including this race, as does Balad Al Reef and both stay the longer trips well also.

“Sharaf Al Reef has been a great servant and was staying on strongly over 1600m at Abu Dhabi just last Sunday. He has run over as far as 2200m, running well in Group One races, so we hope he will stay and our horses generally seem to like Al Ain.

“Hopefully we have three good chances.”

For his main patron, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Eric Lemartinel also saddles a trio, Fabrice Veron seemingly preferring the claims of Basmah over stable companions RB Grynade and Rokbello Du Cayrou, to be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea and Jose Santiago respectively.

Veron’s mount, a 5-year-old mare, has won three of her ten starts, most recently the 2400m Group 2 Arabian Triple Crown R3 on the Abu Dhabi turf last March, following up her 2200m success in round two a fortnight earlier. Her three dirt outings include a January 2020 Al Ain maiden success, courtesy of the stewards having crossed the line in second, over 1800m, followed home by the aforementioned stablemate Rokbello Du Cayrou. The latter then registered his sole career victory in a 1400m Al Ain maiden.

Veron said: “She handles the Al Ain surface and stays well on turf, so this looks a good opportunity for her over a trip that should suit.”

Owners Yas Racing have two runners, Richard Mullen partnering last year’s third, Ajjaj, trained on the track by Jean de Roualle, and dirt debutant Adieb.

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