Majed Al Jahouri aims to make winning return with Rawaa in Al Ruwais Stakes
Emirati trainer has won this Group Three race in Abu Dhabi three times
Majed Al Jahouri will be hoping to make a victorious return on Sunday after serving a three-year ban imposed by the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) for using banned substances on three of his horses.
The ERA stewards found him guilty in January 2017 after the Equine Forensic Unit found that post-race urine samples taken from his horses contained a concentration of cobalt in excess of 100 micrograms per litre.
Having served his time, the Emirati is back with the undefeated Rawaa in the Group Three Al Ruwais Stakes, a prize he has won three times consecutively with Thakif in 2012 and 2013 and Rakha, who dead-heated with the aptly named Shared, in 2014.
The Al Ruwais, run over the 1,200-metre sprint distance for Purebred Arabians, is the feature prize in the Shadwell Stables’ mixed card comprised of five races for Arabians and one for thoroughbreds in Abu Dhabi.
Rawaa was impressive in both of her starts on the dirt surface in Sharjah and Al Ain. However, five-year-old mare will step up in class and tackle the turf for the first time.
Rawaa’s two victories were achieved while trained by Al Jahouri’s former assistant Ana Mendez, who received her trainer’s licence earlier in the season.
Mendez sends out Wadeeaa in the race. The six-year-old mare won the Group One Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 and was runner-up in the Al Ruwais last year.
“She needed her first run in the Baniyas [Group Two] and should be a lot fitter this time,” Mendez said of Wadeeaa’s first run since moving out of trainer Mohammed Ali’s stables in the summer.
Richard Mullen, who has ridden both Wadeeaa, in her reappearance, and Rawaa, in both her victories, has opted for the latter.
The Al Ruwais looks set to be a competitive contest, with the presence of Eric Lemartinel’s recent winner of the Group Three Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup, RB Lam Tara, Ernst Oertel’s AF Alwajel, and Ibrahim Aseel’s ES Ajeeb - winner in seven of his 14 starts.
Fabrice Veron, who has ridden RB Lam Tara in all seven of her starts, said the mare has "natural speed and acceleration” after she came from last to first over the longer 1,600m distance in her most recent start.
AF Alwajel was runner-up in both of his turf starts in Abu Dhabi and won twice on the dirt in Sharjah in track-record timings - over the 1,000m on his racecourse debut and 1,200m in his second last start in December.
“He showed last season he handles the turf well and this will be his first grass outing at a sprint distance which should really suit him,” said Tadhg O’Shea, the retained jockey for owner Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah.
“He has not had much racing at all, has a high cruising speed and we hope is still improving. So we are looking forward to the opportunity to contest a good quality turf sprint.”
Sam Hitchcott, the regular jockey of ES Ajeeb added: “He is naturally quick, but does seem happier on dirt. Sadly, there are few sprint options on the dirt though, so this is an obvious alternative.”
Updated: January 26, 2020 08:02 AM