2 December 2016, Al Ain, UAE ~ Al Ain Racecourse staged its second meeting of the season on Friday, 2 December 2016, allowing racing enthusiasts the opportunity to celebrate National Day at the races with a competitive seven race card.
Organizers saved the best to last. A featured 1600m handicap concluded the action and was won in style by Aslaan, one of three winners on the card sporting the colors of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Trained by Helal Al Alawi, it was a second victory of the season for Aslaan, successful at Sharjah a fortnight ago and, on both occasions, ridden by Royston Ffrench.
An Al Ain winner over 1800m in February, Aslaan has only had ten career starts and has now won three. He looks progressive and connections will be hoping he can build on this.
“He won nicely at Sharjah last time,” said Al Alawi. “This was a stronger race but we were hopeful of a big run and he did that nicely. Royston was very pleased with him and we will have to think about where he goes next.”
The owner’s treble was initiated by Antonio Fresu aboard the impressive winning debutant, Shamikh Al Wathba, trained by newcomer to the UAE, Jean de Roualle, and victorious in a Purebred Arabian 1800m maiden.
“That was a nice performance on his first start,” said Fresu. “He can only improve from this you would think and could be a decent horse.”
Owner and trainer were soon celebrating again after the smooth success of Baddi in another 1800m maiden. Making his dirt debut on his second local and fourth career start, he was always going well under Adrie de Vries and, once the pair hit the front early in the straight, never really looked likely to be caught. Sheikh Mansour also owned runner-up, Majdd and the third, Ammira, trained by Ahmed Al Mehairbi and Majed Al Jahouri respectively.
The action began with a 1600m handicap and jockey Richard Mullen was seen at his best, producing MH Areeb to land the spoils with a late challenge down the centre of the track. Trained by Elise Jeanne and only raced in the UAE, MH Areeb was recording a seventh career victory and third at Al Ain. He was also a winner at Sharjah on the first weekend of this season.
“He is a bit of a character this horse but this track really seems to suit him,” said Mullen. “He travelled nicely today and picked up well when I asked him.”
UAE National Day 2016 is one that apprentice Kamil Grzybowski will always cherish after riding his first local winner, sporting the colors of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan aboard the Eric Lemartinel-trained debutante Mawahib in a 1600m maiden.
The young Polish jockey oozed confidence throughout most of the race before sending her to the front 200m from home to record an accomplished first UAE winner on his 11th local mount.
Sam Hitchcott delivered Foladh with a telling challenge in the penultimate race, a 1600m conditions event, for trainer Mohamed Ali for whom it was a first winner of a season where he has returned to the training ranks for the first time since 2005.
The only Thoroughbred contest was also a maiden over 1800m and the most experienced runner among the 13, the Erwan Charpy-trained Tartoor, scored a brave success to open his account at the 13th attempt.