RB Burning Ash Still Hot at Al Ain Opening

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4 January 2019, Al Ain, UAE ~ Al Ain staged their first meeting of 2019 on Friday afternoon, 4 January 2019, a seven-race card with RB Burning Ash making a great year’s first start and first win of 2019 in the 2000 metre handicap.

RB Burning Ash storms in to take the lead (watch #13 in red and white polka dot jersey). Sorry sound is not working on this one.

Representing the powerful Al Asayl team, RB Burning Ash (Burning Sand x Ashton Rose by Doran) was impressive when landing the best of the Purebred Arabian action with Fabrice Veron in the saddle for owner His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and trainer Eric Lemartinel.

You always know you have a chance riding for these connections and the trainer told me to try and get some cover early on so that is what I did,Veron explained. “Then when I have needed space to challenge I pulled him out wide where he has really quickened and finished very strongly. We had a nice low weight today and, luckily, we have been able to take full advantage of it.

The opening 1400m Wathba Stallion Cup maiden, restricted to 4-year-olds in private ownership, was another race contested by the maximum field of 15. Mullen sent AF Alnwha (Murhib x Khute by Djouras Tu)straight to the front and they most likely never saw a rival.

Trained by Ernst Oertel for his main patron, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the homebred filly was making it third time lucky having previously finished well-beaten in both her debut races over the same course and distance in November and over 1600m on the Abu Dhabi turf in the Abu Dhabi Championship (Listed PA). “She is a nice filly and learning all the time,” Oertel said. “As I keep saying, I am very fortunate to train these smart horses for Mr. Al Nabooda, who is such an enthusiastic owner and breeder.”

The opening 1400m Wathba Stallion Cup maiden, restricted to 4-year-olds in private ownership, was another race contested by the maximum field of 15. Mullen sent AF Alnwha (Murhib x Khute by Djouras Tu) straight to the front and they most likely never saw a rival. Trained by Ernst Oertel for his main patron, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the homebred filly was making it third time lucky having previously finished well beaten in both her debut races, over the same course and distance in November and over 1600m on the Abu Dhabi turf in the Abu Dhabi Championship (Listed PA). “She is a nice filly and learning all the time,” Oertel said. “As I keep saying, I am very fortunate to train these smart horses for Mr. Al Nabooda, who is such an enthusiastic owner and breeder.”

Jap Malawih (AF Maqam Alezz x Mazajeh by Chndaka) may have been reluctant to load, dislodging Fernando Jara behind the stalls before the 1600m handicap, but his enthusiasm and energy turned positive during the race for the bottom weight contender. Having disputed the lead throughout the first half of the race, he was committed for home a full 450m out and won well for owner Sh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and trainer Irfan Ellahi.

Jara was delighted with the outcome and said, “I was happy to be asked to ride him as I thought he had a big chance but he was quite green throughout most of the race so is only going to get better with experience. Irfan does very well with the horses he has and his team have been in good form all season.”

A maiden over 1800m was won by Officer (Thoroughbred (US) x Dixies Valentine by NIVOUR DE CARDONNE) with one previous debut start at Al Ain over 1400m, was slowly away and seemingly outpaced throughout the first half of the race. On this occasion and given plenty of time to find his stride by Gerald Avrancher iding for Abdallah Al Hammadi and Al Ajban Stables, the bay colt made relentless progress throughout the straight, hitting the front in the final 100m.

Connections wasted no time completing a course and distance double in almost a carbon copy of the home straight finish of Officer when Hareer Al Reef (Bibi De Carrere x Valdora by Dormane) powered down the straight to lead in the closing stages in the following 1800m handicap, supplementing their 2000m Sharjah victory of just six days ago.


Avranche said: “The yard is in good form and Officer had learned a lot from his debut but is still a baby who should again improve. I won at Sharjah on Hareer Al Reef just last Saturday, so running again so quickly was a slight concern but he has won that very well today.”

The finale, a 1000m conditions race for horses that had not won more than once previously went to Lou Raynal, making his local debut in an impressive way with the win under Xavier Ziani riding for Yousif bin Ghilan. A 7-year-old entire by Kerbella, this was 18th career start, but only second on dirt and he was doubling his career tally having registered his maiden victory in the UK on the all-weather at Wolverhampton over 1200m. That was in June 2017 on his sixth racecourse appearance.

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