The wait is finally over. After a seven-month break, the much-anticipated 2023-2024 UAE flat racing season kicks off on Saturday when the Al Ain racecourse hosts the opening meeting on Saturday.
The seven-race card which is dedicated to Purebred Arabians is the first of 14 meetings the UAE’s newest racing venue will host this term.
The campaign includes a total of 61 meetings, comprising 15 at both Meydan Racecourse and Abu Dhabi Racecourse, 11 at Jebel Ali Racecourse and 6 at Sharjah Racecourse.
Highlights at Al Ain Racecourse are the Al Ain Mile race day as well as the Marathon Series.
American import RB Money Maker is the headline act of the day-night card when he lines up to contest the Al Jimi Conditions event over 1,000 metres, which looks like an intriguing feature race.
The four-year-old son of smart Saudi Arabian stallion Nashwan Al Khalidiah, a dual Group 1 winner at Newmarket and Newbury in England, is trained by Hamad Al Marar who saddled nine winners in his rookie season in 2022-2023.
RB Money Maker is out of RB Money To Burn, herself a three-time Group race winner in the UAE, and who was renowned for her exceptional gate speed and early pace.
Last season represented another strong campaign for Brazilian rider Bernardo Pinheiro with 28 winners and he could benefit from the sidelining of weighing room colleague Richie Mullen through injury in the 1600m Al Masoudi handicap where he partners Taj Al Izz.
Trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami found the key to the five-year-old at the backend of last season, saddling him to win over 2000m and a mile on his last start, where he found plenty for pressure under Mullen to repel Astral Del Sol by a neck.
Pinheiro, who has just finished another successful stint in Singapore, looks like a good deputy for Mullen and his mount can complete the hat-trick on his seasonal reappearance.