Al Ain Sprint Series kicks off with Race 6

Friday’s Al Ain race meeting is highlighted by a 1,000-metre conditions race that is the first leg of the new Al Ain Sprint Series.

Friday’s Al Ain race meeting is highlighted by a 1,000-metre conditions race that is the first leg of the new Al Ain Sprint Series.

Seven entrants have been declared for the new event, including local debutant, Alize, who will be ridden by Silvestre De Sousa.

Trained by Saifaldin Deeb, De Sousa’s mount landed one of his five starts in his native France, but that was over 1,900m and this will be his first start over the 1000m minimum trip as well as his first start on dirt.

Stable companion, Najem S’Heel has won twice over the trip, on turf at Abu Dhabi and also has two Sharjah dirt victories to his name over 1200m. Tadhg O’Shea rides but, on official ratings, the pair have a lot to find.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed is responsible for three of the seven runners with Sha’Red set to carry the first silks under Pat Dobbs for trainer, Yousef Al Bloushi.

He at least has a win over 1,000m, when he shared the spoils in a Group 3 contest on the Abu Dhabi turf in February.

“He has plenty of pace,” Dobbs said. “If he handles the dirt he should have a big chance.”

The owner’s second runner, Shateh, is trained by Majed Al Jahouri and is to be ridden by apprentice Saeed Al Mazrouei, who partnered him to victory in a 1,600m conditions race on the Abu Dhabi turf last month.

Al Jahouri also saddles the same owner’s Laamma, who is having his first outing on dirt and at 1000m, and will be ridden by Royston Ffrench.

“Both should run well,” Al Jahouri said. “Saeed gets on well with Shateh and his apprentice claim can only help his chance, while Laamma has plenty of pace and will hopefully handle the dirt.”

TM Super Bird is a contender for trainer Omar Daraj on her fifth UAE outing but first on dirt since arriving from the United States where she was a winner 11 times on the surface.

The second and third rounds of the Al Ain Sprint Series are on January 30 and March 19.

Today’s card also has the first leg of the Al Ain Marathon Series and eight are set to face the starter in a 2,600m handicap.

The Eric Lemartinel-trained Mandragore Al Maury has been placed over the distance, although it was on turf in England, and should make a bold bid despite giving weight to her seven rivals. Wayne Smith takes the ride.

“We know she stays the trip, which is obviously a bonus,” Smith said.

“The Lemartinel horses are starting to hit form and I am expecting a big effort but she does have a big weight with 60 kilograms over such a long trip.”

Thirteen runners are to go to post for the only Thoroughbred contest, a 1600m handicap, with recent 1400m Al Ain winners, Maltese Cat and Beachy Head set to clash.

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Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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