Racing returns to Al Ain Racecourse on Friday afternoon for a seven-race card including a solitary Thoroughbred contest, a 2000m handicap which. Said event, like each of the six Purebred Arabian races, has attracted the maximum allowed field of 15.
Satish Seemar saddles two in the Thoroughbred race, with Richie Mullen choosing to ride Heraldic for the Al Bait Mutawahed Team. Second over 1600 and fourth over 1400m, on his two previous Al Ain visits, the 7-year-old Discreet Cat gelding has won three times for present connections. Mullen’s choice leaves champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea the mount on Cachao, a horse he has actually partnered for Ali Muktar on each of his nine runs, highlighted by a 1600m Meydan victory aboard the 7-year-old New Approach gelding in December 2018.
O’Shea said: “Obviously I know Cachao well and we hope the long Al Ain straight will be in his favour. We know he stays 1900m well at Meydan, so hopefully the trip will suit.”
Denied a run when Abu Dhabi was postponed last Sunday, Chingachgook takes his chance here with Fernando Jara riding for trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and in the colours of Saud Mohd Al Ajami. The pair concedes weight to all 14 rivals. A 6-year-old gelded son of Al Kazeem, he has just the one career victory to his name, a Musselburgh hurdle race over 3300m in March last year, but he ran very well over 2200m at Meydan on his most recent start and stamina is clearly not going to be an issue.
Al Bait Mutawahed Team actually have three chances in the race with Erwan Charpy saddling Blue Sovereign, a maiden, and Initial to complete the owner’s trio. Trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, the latter, an 8-year-old gelded son of Invincible Spirit, has yet to finish out of the first three after five Al Ain runs, including two 1600m victories, the first of which, in November 2018, was at the expense of the same owner’s aforementioned Heraldic.
On official ratings, with a lofty handicap mark of 75, Marmara XM is the best Purebred Arabian runner in action on the card and the 4-year-old filly takes her chance in the 1000m conditions contest which concludes the card. Trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and the mount of Szczepan Mazur, she made a winning debut when never headed over 1400m, here at Al Ain before well beaten trying identical tactics on her only subsequent start, on the Abu Dhabi turf, over 1600m.
Clearly blessed with natural speed, she should make a bold bid to get back to winning ways, but is far from the only unexposed runner in the field which includes the 5-year-old mare Rawaa, winner of her only start to date, a 1200m Sharjah maiden, in November. Trained by Ana Mendez, she ran in the name of her breeder, Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on that occasion, but is competing here for Al Wathba Racing, having their first ever runners throughout a busy afternoon.
A 4-year-old colt, Gold Silver has had just three career outings for Ibrahim Aseel and owner Ziad Galadari, making it third time lucky when winning a course and distance maiden a fortnight ago.