DUBAI // Jebel Ali Raceourse is providing a valuable training ground for the UAE's Emirati apprentices, with three young riders getting an outing this afternoon.
Two of the three start proceedings in the opening 1,400-metre handicap. Abdullah Al Masoori will be bidding to maintain his perfect record after claiming one win from one ride at Jebel Ali two weeks ago. Erwan Charpy's apprentice steered Aqmaar to a memorable victory last time, and this time he rides Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's Coeur Loyal for the same trainer.
"He has been doing well," said Charpy. "We are pleased with him and intend to keep bringing him on slowly."
Getting his first race ride in public is Omar Ahmed, apprenticed to the US handler Doug Watson.
Ahmed, who like Al Masoori receives a 4.5kg weight allowance, partners Fares, a winner over 1,600m at Jebel Ali this season.
Saeed Al Mazrooei, who is apprenticed to the UAE champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe, holds the distinction of already riding four winners this season, having started his career slightly earlier than his compatriots.
The 3kg claimer rides Festival City in the second 1,400m handicap for Sheikh Saeed bin Mohammed and the trainer Abdullah bin Huzaim. Watson said he had been impressed with Ahmed's work ethic. "He's been doing fine at home and like most people when they start riding, he has a ways to go yet," said Watson. "He works very hard and has impressed everyone with his commitment.
"He is the first there in the morning and for any apprentice a willingness to listen and learn and to put in the effort is very important."