Alemarat Looks to Star Among Leading Men

2016-17 UAE Racing Season Moves to Sharjah for Second Meeting

Sharjah Racecourse stages its first meeting of the new season on Saturday, following hot on the heels of Jebel Ali’s opening day on Friday.

Last season saw Sharjah provide a reliable barometer for UAE racing success with the three UAE racing champion, owner HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, trainer Doug Watson and jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, all dominating their respective categories at the track.

As usual at Sharjah, O’Shea has a strong book of rides, including Men Alemarat in the featured 2000m handicap which concludes the six-race card.

Trained by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as is Snaffy, the mount of Gerald Avranche, Men Alemarat has one victory to his name, in a 2000m maiden on the Al Ain dirt.
He was set some stiff tasks last season which concluded with a third in Sharjah’s biggest race of the season, the 1700m Ruler Of Sharjah Trophy, a race that Sheikh Khalifa, O’Shea and Lemartinel actually won with Hamza.
That was his only visit to Sharjah to date and the performance certainly offers plenty of hope for his chances on Saturday.

“He’s a nice horse and has been working well,” said O’Shea.
“The yard would appear to have two big chances in the race with my fellow proven at Sharjah, which is always crucial there.

“Snaffy has only had three starts and seems to be improving judged on his recent work at home.”

Sheikh Hamdan’s colours will be carried by Sharjah specialist Zaffaan, the mount of Fernando Jara and trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri.

All three of his career victories have been registered on this, his favourite course, most recently over 2700m in the Sharjah Marathon of March 2015.
His other two wins were over 1700m and he will surely appreciate this return to the venue after three disappointing runs last season, all at Al Ain.

“Hopefully running back at Sharjah will suit him and he can run a big race,” said Jara.

Majed Al Jahouri has secured the services of apprentice Ismail Koyuncu to take a valuable 2.5kgs off the back of Ajjaj.

His sole victory thus far was in a 1400m Al Ain maiden but he was second over Saturday’s 2000m trip prior to that run.
The Tony Manuel-trained Major finished last season with an Al Ain win over 2000m and he could go well under Marc Monaghan.
Pat Dobbs is aboard Hakim, trained by Watson for EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) and a 1600m winner at Jebel Ali last season.
Undoubtedly talented, Hakim is something of an enigma and very hard to predict.

“He works like a very good horse,” said EERC representative Justin Byrne. “However, he does not always show the same level on a raceday.
“He improved for his first run last season and may need this outing.”
The same connections also combine with local debutant More To Come in the sole Thoroughbred contest, a maiden over 1700m.
“He is going to be better over further but this is a good opportunity to get a race into him,” said Byrne. “We hope he is a nice horse in the making.

O’Shea partners Avenue Of Dreams for Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and having only his second career start having finished third on his only outing in England.
O’Shea said: “He will definitely improve for the experience but is working nicely and should win races.”