Al Ain Racecourse stages a seven race card on Friday, highlighted by the Al Ain Mile, a Prestige contest for which nine have been declared, including last year’s winner Aslaan.
Trained locally by Helal Al Alawi for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Aslaan has not won since in three subsequent outings, but will be having just his third start this season. His most recent appearance six weeks ago was over 3200m, a trip he did not appear to stay. Stepping back to 1600m, a distance over which he has won twice would appear in his favour.
Pat Cosgrave rides and said: “The yard is in good form and we know conditions suit him, but it does look a strong renewal.”
Jean de Roualle, who trains on the Al Ain track, saddles Dahham for Yas Horse Racing Management. The 5-year-old mount of Richard Mullen looks a massive danger to all on what will be just his second local outing. His first was an excellent third in the 2200m HH The President Cup (Group 1) on the turf at Abu Dhabi and undoubtedly has a touch of class, being a dual Group 1 winner.
De Roualle said: “He trains well on the dirt so we are pretty confident he will handle it in a race. We were very pleased with him at Abu Dhabi and we are hoping for another good run.”
Representing the powerful team at Al Asayl, Mawahib, trained by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, won three consecutive races late last year under Tadhg O’Shea, again in the saddle.
However, she then unseated the jockey leaving the stalls in Saudi Arabia before refusing to race at Meydan a fortnight ago. If she consents to race and behaves herself, she would appear to hold major claims in a very open looking contest.
BF Mughader was narrowly denied a hat-trick on his most recent outing when staying on strongly over 2200m at Abu Dhabi. He had previously won over that same course and distance, as well as over 2000m here at Al Ain. The mount of Antonio Fresu, he is trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami but has yet to win over 1600m, a trip he will be trying for the eighth time but first locally in what is his first season in the UAE.
Silvestre De Sousa rides Cakouet De Bozouls for Abdallah Al Mehairbi. He has had five starts for local connections, all in good company and including finishing third to Paddy’s Day in the 1600m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 at Meydan. Most recently he was second to that same rival in the 1400m Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah on the same Meydan dirt surface.
The only Thoroughbred race, a 1000m handicap looks ultra-competitive with the maximum field allowed of 15 set to face the starter. These include two trained by Fawzi Nass of which Iftitah, the mount of Harry Bentley, looks to hold the strongest claims. Beaten by a head when third over this course and distance in December, he was then well beaten when only seventh, again over course and distance in a race won by Paranormal.
One of three in the race for Doug Watson, Paranormal has not run since that victory in January and is the selection of Pat Dobbs who was aboard for that win.
Also with three runners, Rashed Bouresly has booked O’Shea to ride Ajwad, suggesting he is considered the trainer’s best hope.
His sole career victory was recorded just over a year ago, over 1200m at Jebel Ali and this will be the first time he has raced at Al Ain and only third attempt at 1000m.