Having staged the very first meeting of the season back in October, Al Ain also hosted the final fixture of the campaign when Friday evening’s card was highlighted by the inaugural running of the Al Ain Cup, ultimately won comfortably Harrab.
The very final race of the UAE season, the featured 2000m conditions contest was contested by a select field of six and AF Sanad, a winner at Abu Dhabi as recently as Abu Dhabi just six days ago, made a gallant bid to make every post a winning one. Halfway up the straight he had four of his rivals toiling but Bernardo Pinheiro, sporting the striking green and yellow checked silks of Al Wathba Racing, was making steady inroads into his advantage.
Passing the 200m pole it was evident that Pinheiro was timing his challenge to perfection, the pair sweeping past the battling AF Sanad with about 80m remaining to win with, seemingly, plenty left up his sleeve.
Trained by Majed Al Jahoori, the homebred 6-year-old entire was having only his second dirt outing and was taking a massive drop in class having been campaigned in Group One company in six of his previous eight outings.
This was just a second career success, adding to the 2200m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R2 he won on the Abu Dhabi turf in March 2019 when saddled by Mohamed Ali.
Pinheiro said: “He has done that very nicely and, on ratings, was entitled to at least run a big race which is what he has done. The leader skipped clear early in the straight but I always thought I had him in my sights and my horse picked up well. It is the perfect end to what has been a very good season for me.”
For horses in private ownership, the opening 1600m handicap was won in fairly decisive fashion by RB Kings Bay, ridden by Omani apprentice Abdul Aziz Al Balushi for owners Byerley Racing and handler Helal Al Alawi who trains locally.