March 19, 2014, Al Ain, UAE ~ Al Ain Racecourse stages its fifth and final meeting of the season on Thursday, March 20, and a highlight will be the fifth race, the Al Ain Mile, a 1600m conditions race. Bigg N Rich, already a dual course and distance winner, is one of ten in the mix for the 250,000 AED ($68,000) prize money.
Trained by Eric Lemartinel for Athbah Stud, Bigg N Rich won a similar race at the first ever Al Ain meeting on the final day of January before following up in the Al Ain Mile Prep four weeks later with James Doyle in the saddle on March 1.
James Doyle is again in the saddle, as he has been for both previous course victories. “He is a very good horse as he showed when winning at Meydan Racecourse in December,” said Doyle. “He has really handled this surface well and travels really strongly throughout his races. He then has a turn of foot, which is a potent weapon in these races. Hopefully he is the one they all have to beat.”
Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel saddles three with Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea choosing to ride Collateral. The other two are Fryvolous and Najm Alemarat and all three are under the ownership of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“Callateral is seemingly improving and has shown a liking for the Al Ain surface which is a big plus, “said Oertel. “He needs to step up again but remains in good form and should run a big race. It has been another great season and I am lucky to have a strong team around me. It is a great privilege to train at Al Asayl and to have such nice horses in the yard.“
Majed Al Jahouri is another trainer enjoying an excellent season and has both Rakha and Thakif in the field for HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Thakif was third behind Bigg N Rich in the Al Ain Mile Prep a month ago and third in February behind stable companion Rakha that dead-heated in the Group 3 Al Ruwais.
The main support race is a 3000m handicap, becoming the longest Purebred Arabian race in the UAE calendar, surpassing last week’s 2700m Sharjah Marathon.
That Sharjah race was won by the Oertel-trained Swyft, who headed stable companion Forgehill Cezanne close home and both are back in action here.
Al Jahouri’s Raheq was third in the same race and it would be no surprise were the three to fight out this race, with all three having experience of the track when running in the prep for this contest over 2600m on February 28. Forgehill Cezanne was third on that occasion, when Raheq was fourth and Swyft fifth.
The only Thoroughbred race among the seven on the card is a 1600m handicap and the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Ghaamer, seeking a third win in 2014, could be hard to beat.
Doug Watson’s Jeerann was a course and distance winner three weeks ago and could be the main danger. Both are owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum with retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, electing to ride Ghaamer.
Full Race Card Entries:[gview file=”http://www.horsereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Al-Ain-Racecourse_Thursday_20_March_2014.pdf” save=”1″]