Jahaafel, Antimo And Immortalised Lead Thoroughbred Brigade In Al Ain Friday Meeting

Al Ain stages a seven-race card on Friday with, as always, just the one Thoroughbred contest, this week a handicap over 2600m for which 14 have been declared, the weights headed by Jahaafel.

Trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri and to be ridden by Jim Crowley for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the 5-year-old gelded son of Style Vendome will be having just his fourth local outing, third on dirt and is stepping up markedly in trip, his latest outing in November having been over 1200m at Meydan. However, his sole career victory, for William Haggas, was over 2000m at Chepstow in June 2018 so the extra trip may suit.

Al Mheiri said: “We are hoping conditions at Al Ain will suit him and this looks a good race to try him over this longer distance. He is working well and has had a nice break.”

Antimo is proving something of a course specialist, his three Al Ain visits producing a second, over 1800m and a pair of 2000m victories for Ahmed Al Shemaili with Antonio Fresu in the saddle again here, the man aboard on each occasion.

The extra 600m might be a query, but Fresu said: “He has been staying on strongly over 2000m at Al Ain, so we have to be hopeful he will stay the longer trip on a track and surface he clearly enjoys.”

The other previous Al Ain winner in the field is Immortalised, to be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for Satish Seemar. A 2000m winner on this card two years ago, the 6-year-old Frankel entire has twice won over 2600m at Meydan, under O’Shea both times.

“The horse stays well and we know he acts at Al Ain,” O’Shea said. “I won on him at Meydan early last month and am very grateful to keep the ride, especially with the Seemar horses running so well.”

Another yard going well is that of Fawzi Nass who also owns Obeyaan, a maiden after six starts, but a staying on third, over 1800m, up the Jebel Ali hill just last Friday. An effort suggesting this stamina test will suit. Royston Ffrench rides.

On official ratings, the finale, a 2000m conditions race, should be at the mercy of Burj Al Arab, trained on the Al Ain track by Mohd Ramadan who also owns the 9-year-old gelding with a lofty handicap mark of 100. However, he has not won since October 2015, his sole career victory, but is taking a massive drop in class having most recently contested the Group 1 HH The President Cup at Abu Dhabi as recently as last Sunday.

If he fails to fire, Harwal may be the one to take advantage defending an unbeaten record having won his only previous start, a maiden over 1800m here at Al Ain where he is trained by Jean de Roualle. Owned by Yas Racing, the homebred 5-year-old appears to be the choice of Richard Mullen over stablemate Munowra, to be ridden by Noel Garbutt for the same owner.

For HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Eric Lemartinel saddles three, Fabrice Veron seemingly preferring the chances of Muqtader.

Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Ernst Oertel are always to be respected in these races and have two bites at the cherry, Fresu aboard AF Yahawa with the owner’s retained jockey, O’Shea, siding with Raniah.