Al Ain set for season finale
Dubai - The only danger for the Lemartinel's squad could come from the Wathba Stables of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Al Ain racecourse will receive racegoers on two days over this weekend before the curtains come down to another successful season. Shadwell Farms, the international arm of the operations of Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, sponsors the highlight of Thursday's meeting; a Purebred Arabian event restricted to mares and fillies and contested over eight furlongs with a full field of 15 runners going to post.
The stables of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, saddle five runners led by Al Jazi, the choice of champion jockey Tadhg O'Shea, as the Al Asayl handler Eric Lemartinel has booked Dane O'Neill to partner top weight Al Yawazi while Estourah will be ridden by Wayne Smith, Bashayer will be under apprentice jockey George Buckell and the other claiming apprentice Ismail Koyuncu takes the ride on RB Rich Abratude. O'Shea commented: "It was a very difficult choice with five in the race. I narrowed it down to Al Yawazi and Al Jazi, opting for the latter purely because she is far less exposed. She had an Abu Dhabi option also last week so was not declared in this race. This will be just her third start and she has done nothing wrong. Hopefully the return to 1600m will suit as she seemed not to stay the 1800m last time."
The only danger for the Lemartinel's squad could come from the Wathba Stables of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. "Gozla'An is a useful five-year-old mare by Babi De Carrere," said Moroccan trainer Nacer Samiri who is looking after the major part of the Wathba Stables horses. "She ran very well and won in Abu Dhabi, but did not perform to her best on her Al Ain debut. I hope this time out will show her all," he added.
The 1400m Al Khanah Handicap, the only thoroughbred contest on the seven-race card, sees 12 contenders under the starter's orders. Champion jockey Richard jumps on Ru'Oud, a course and distance winner last January, and should be the one to beat this time out.