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Knife Out To Draw Blood At Sharjah Opening Meet

Tony Manuel`s Arabian Targeting Repeat Victory In Conditions Race

Connections will be hoping Knife can repeat his 2010 victory in the featured 1,700m Purebred Arabian Conditions contest when racing returns to Sharjah for the first time this season on Saturday (tomorrow).

Trained by Tony Manuel, Knife, who will be ridden by Pat Dobbs, is something of a regular at Sharjah.

Manuel said: “The one thing we know is that conditions suit him and he loves it on the Sharjah dirt. He seems in good form at home and normally runs well fresh so I am hoping he at least goes close but there is a decent field against him.”

He was chased home in this race two years ago by stable companion Bareq who will be ridden by Adrie de Vries but he will need to bounce back from the wilderness to win this after a disappointing 2012 thus far.

Doug Watson trains Fantastique MHF, another Sharjah regular who is not only a course and distance winner but has also won over as short as 1,200m and as far as 2,700m. The mount of Dane O`Neill, he is seeking a fifth course win and Watson said: “He has to give weight to the rest but he loves it at Sharjah and should run his usual solid race. He has been working well and has proved he can run a big race after a break.”

Ernst Oertel saddles two runners with stable jockey, Tadhg O`Shea partnering Kalahari Desert with Daragh O`Donohoe on stable companion Jazeerat Alsadyaat. Both are making their dirt debut but would be big dangers if reproducing their turf form.

The only Thoroughbred race on the six race card is a 1,200m maiden which looks quite competitive with several of the runners having shown a similar level of form. The one that really stands out, though, is Grand Duchy, trained by Musabah al Muhairi and a good second at Jebel Ali on his seasonal return. With stable jockey, Wayne Smith, suspended, Dane O`Neill picks up a great spare ride.

Pasquino represents the combination of Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen who have already won similar races at both Jebel Ali and Meydan, while apprentice, Marc Monaghan, rides stable companion Mahrosa who is making his dirt debut.

Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddles three with Shafgaan, the mount of Saeed Al Mazrooei, holding the most obvious claims.