27 November 2023

ERA Sharjah Review

The connections of Eastern World are in line for landing the bonus that goes to the winner of both legs of the Emirates Sprint Series after the Ahmad bin Harmash-trained Dubawi gelding turned up in style to win the HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup (1200m), the opening leg of the series at Sharjah on Sunday afternoon.

Bhupat Seemar’s Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint winner Tuz was tipped to win on his first start of the season in the hands of champion jockey and the pair seemed on track to justify the confidence despite getting bumped heavily soon after the gates flew open. 

However, Bin Harmash’s six-year-old trainee, owned by Mohammed Ahmed Al Subousi, had other plans with Gabriele Malune keeping him alert all the way and asking for a gargantuan effort in the final 400m. Once he received his orders, Eastern World, a former winner of the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal, extended fully to hit the front a 100m from the finish and win by a length.

Tuz was second with last year’s Emirates Sprint Series champion, Road Bloc (Osama Refai/Oscar Chavez) a distant seven-and-three-quarters lengths behind in third.

The HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup was the only Thoroughbred contest on the card with the Purebred Arabian feature event - the HH The Crown Prince of Sharjah Cup, a Conditions event run over the same 1200m strip - going to Majed Al Jahoori’s Bassam Al Wathba (Bernardo Pinheiro), who finished with a length-and-a-quarter to spare from Al Zafy (Khalifa Al Neyadi/Saif Al Balushi). Barghash was a further length adrift in third for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and Connor Beasley.

Beasley dominated the undercard adding a brace to his seasonal tally, which now stands at 14. The English rider first won the Al Ferdous Cup 1700m maiden aboard Ibrahim Al Hadhrami’s Jawhar, who made a winning lunge on the line to deny Jaber Bittar’s Game Time, the ride of Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, by a neck, with Nisreen Al Wathba further behind the pair in third for trainer Eric Lemartinel and Jules Mobian.

Beasley completed his scoring for the afternoon when guiding Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Majdi in the Palma Spring Cup 2000m handicap (0-80), which was won by a length-and-a-quarter from Taajer (Dennis O’Brien/Richard Mullen). A further neck adrift in third was Munawir Baynounah for trainer Saif Almarar and Oscar Chavez.

Royston Ffrench enjoyed a third win of the campaign guiding Irfan Ellahi’s JAP Awqat to victory in the card-opening Dubai Creek Tower Cup 1200m maiden, which the pair put to bed at perhaps the halfway stage, with second-placed Rasikh Al Wathba finishing six-and-three-quarters of a length behind for Jean-Claude Pecout and Ryan Curatolo. A further three lengths behind in third was Ramiz Al Wathba for Lemartinel and Jesus Rosales.

Frenchman Pecout might have been denied in the opener but he made a winning return in the subsequent Al Yasmmeen Cup, another 1200m maiden, where Nahla Al Wathba, guided expertly by Adrie de Vries, held on to victory by a short head in a race which saw his Al Jahoori-schooled Al Wathba Racing teammate Shurooq Al Wathba take second in the command of Pinheiro. Qaiss Aboud’s Al Delhab, Leandro Chimenes up, finished third, a further two lengths in arrears.