14 February 2019, Al Ain, UAE ~ Racing at Al Ain, UAE on Friday, 15 February 2019, is highlighted by Round 2 of The Al Ain Marathon Series, a 4100m handicap for which 11 have been declared with Shamikh Al Wathba defending his 2018 win starting in Post Position 1.
Trained on the Al Ain track by Jean de Roualle for Yas Horse Racing Management, the 7-year-old Bibi De Carrere son out of champion Mizzna won the equivalent race last year (2018), when it was over 3200m, before finishing second, over this 4100m, in the third round and then third in the series’ finale, over 5100m, in the final leg. He has had just one outing this season, finishing second in Round 1 of the 3200m handicap the Al Ain Marathon Series staying on strongly under Richard Mullen, again in the saddle.
“This horse stays well and was entitled to need that first run, his first since March,” Mullen said. “It looks a strong heat, but he should be in the mix.”
Eric Lemartinel saddles four for HH Sh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan including Jeemi, RB Grynade, Snaafy and RB Burning Ash, the 8-year-old RB Burning Ash having the most experience and first at Al Ain on 4 January 2019 over 2000m.
Four weeks ago, the 3200m first round was won by Hareer Al Reef, ridden by Fernando Jara for Abdallah Al Hammadi and making it three wins on the spin, having also won at Sharjah in December and over 1800m at Al Ain two weeks before.
Jara is not in Al Ain action and has been replaced by Antonio Fresu, who said: “The horse is in a rich vein of form which is obviously a positive, but this is a new longer trip for him and there is no reason it will not suit him. It is basically a nice spare ride and one I am looking forward to.”
Al Hammadi actually saddles three, including Balad Al Reef, the mount of Gerald Avranche and a horse for whom stamina is certainly not an issue. Well beaten in the first round, the 8-year-old won the Al Ain Marathon Series Final, a handicap with Prestige status, in both 2016 and 2017. He is also a course and distance winner, having won the Shadwell Al Ain Stayers Trophy in February 2017 and was fourth in this race last year.
On a card seemingly dedicated to stamina, the only Thoroughbred race is a 2600m handicap for which the maximum field allowed of 15 have been declared and appears wide open.
The weights are headed by Aslan, trained by Sandeep Jadhav for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and the mount of Royston Ffrench. An 8-year-old gelded son of A P Indy, he has registered all four career victories in the UAE, including two last season having landed a 1800m handicap at Jebel Ali and, two starts later, a 2200m Meydan handicap. Aslan would appear to hold strong claims having only been seen once this season, in a much better handicap than this at Meydan.