25 December 2023

ERA Sharjah Review

The AED 200,000 feature race on the card, the GCC Cup, saw Richard Mullen produce an inspired ride aboard Majdi to prevail by the barest of margins at the expense of the Oscar Chavez-ridden AF Yatwy (Saif Almarar). 

Australian racecourse commentator Pat Comerford may have bravely called Majdi the winner as the duo hit the line, but the winning pilot was far from confident he had held on. 

“I wasn’t sure, it was close! I thought I held on, but I have not been involved in too many photos lately!” said Mullen.

Third in this race last year, Majdi has shown a clear liking for the Sharjah dirt having recorded all three previous career victories at the track, with the most recent recorded in a 0-80 handicap at the course a month ago when he sneaked up the rail to win in similar fashion.

“He got a good trip. He did the same when Connor [Beasley] rode him last time. He likes to finish off like that. He came on strongly,” commented the winning rider, who was riding his fifth winner of the season. 

The runner-up was motivated from a long way out and found himself in a good position just behind the leading group, but Chavez switched his mount away from the rail anticipating traffic turning for home in what proved to be a crucial, potentially race-deciding move. 

Faidah Al Wathba for Abdul Aziz Al Balushi and Majed Al Jahoori kept on for third a further three lengths adrift of the top two placegetters. 

 

BOURSELY OFF THE MARK FOR THE SEASON

Chavez might have missed out on the feature, but he guided the grey Haiuao Alarb to victory in the closing contest on the card, a 1200m handicap for 0-75 rated thoroughbreds, opening the account for trainer Rashed Boursely in the process. 

“It was a really good run. He ran better than I had thought he would!” said a humble Chavez who finally scored a winner following a pair of runner-up finishes earlier on the day. 

After setting the pace, Ironside (Ryan Curatolo/Musabbeh Al Mheiri) failed to hold off the winner’s late charge but stuck on for second just ahead of Dukedom (Tadgh O’Shea/Bhupat Seemar) who looked beaten as the race picked up pace but rallied late again to grab third. 

 

SECOND SHARJAH SUCCESS FOR SLATTERY

Having opened his UAE account at Sharjah last week, Irish-rider Andrew Slattery’s love-affair with the course continued with a second winner when the Saifaldeen Deeb-trained Al Nasr quickened away stylishly in the opening 1200m maiden for the three-year old colts and geldings, to score by a mammoth eight lengths from long-time leader Badraan Baynounah (Oscar Chavez/Saif Almarar). 

The winner only got into the contest at the eleventh hour following the scratching of his stablemate, which many would label as a shrewd move from the trainer as he was last seen behind Arabian sensation HM Alchahine on Jewel Crown meeting. 

The second contest of the afternoon, a twin maiden of the opener but for fillies only, saw the Tadgh O’Shea-ridden Durat Al Kamaal tough it out close home to deny Garmoosha and Jules Mobian by the barest of margins. 

Having produced for her run by O’Shea passing the chute, the Jaber Bittar-trainee resolutely fended off all challengers to provide her trainer with his fourth winner of the campaign. 

Jockey Bernardo Pinheiro's fine form this season continued after he guided trainer Qaiss Aboud's AF Al Moreeb to success in the 2000m 0-65 rated handicap. The win did not come easy, though, with Pinheiro working hard from the get-go to secure a good position early on. Luckily, breaking from stall seven allowed him to slot on to the rail and save all ground that came in handy in the closing stages of the race in fending off a late rally from AF Daloo (Sandro Paiva/Nisren Mahgoub) who went down by three lengths ultimately. It was a break of another four-and-three-quarters of a length in third to Rasikh Al Reef (Jesus Rosales/Bittar).

Stall 15 could not hinder AF Kal Noor and Connor Beasley from landing the 1700m handicap for the Purebred Arabians. The winner had to take the scenic route going into the first turn with an eight-wide trip but that did not dampen him from finding plenty in the home stretch as he reeled in his stable companion and pacesetter AF Marmuq to score by just over a length, providing a 1-2 for trainer Ernst Oertel. 

The next fixture at Sharjah Equestrian Club is on January 7th in the New Year when the AED200,000 HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup for the thoroughbreds will be the feature.