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Jaci Wickham Claims Sharjah`s First Feature Of New Season

Champion Jockey, Tadhg O`Shea Opens Seasonal Account

The trainer, Jaci Wickham, emerged victorious from the first meeting at Sharjah this afternoon (Sunday) when claiming the 1,700m feature race with Ma`Error W`Rsan.

Jockey, Richard Mullen steered the six-year-old to a second career win in the Conditions contest. Mullen gave his mount a confident ride, producing him to tackle long time leader Knife as the runners headed for home.

He soon had that rival, winner of this race in 2010, in trouble but Mullen`s mount then had to show tremendous resolve to fight off the late challenge of Kalahari Desert.

Mullen, who held both arms aloft as he was led into the winner`s enclosure, said: “We traveled nicely into the straight and I knew we had the measure of Knife at that point. The eventual runner-up loomed as a very serious danger but my lad has really battled to hold him off.

“Jaci does ever so well with the horses she has and it is nice to win the feature here for her.”

Racing opened with a 1,200m maiden which was won in great style by debutant Vernet in the hands of Royston Ffrench and a first training success for Mohd Al Subouse for whom he was a first runner this season and his tenth overall.

Ffrench said: “He was quite green but did it nicely.”

Tony Manuel was the trainer to follow at Sharjah last season and wasted little time opening his account this time with AF Tharb landing the 1,200m handicap under Pat Dobbs. The pair were never far off the pace before hitting the front about 100m out and Manuel said: “We had six winners here last year and it is great to get off the mark so early on.”

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1,200m maiden, provided Dane O`Neill the perfect opportunity to open his account for the season when steering Grand Duchy to a comfortable victory for Musabah Al Muhairi.

“We thought he would be hard to beat after his big run at Jebel Ali a fortnight ago,” said Al Muhairi.

Champion Jockey, Tadhg O`Shea, then registered his first win of the campaign on Mashahed who made a winning debut in a 1,000m maiden with the pair leading in the dying strides. Trained by Ernst Oertel, the winner is owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for whom O`Shea will be riding when available this season.

“That was the horse`s first start and he is just a big baby and can only improve. It is great to have a winner in these colours,” said O`Shea.

The penultimate race was another maiden, this time over 1,700m and Jaber Bittar, who saddled a maiden winner at Jebel Ali on Friday, repeated the trick with Lwiza who was a comfortable victor under Pat Cosgrave who said: “I am not sure how good a race it was but he won well.”