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Sharjah Provides Sheikh Hamdan With 600th UAE Winner

Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Alfirsaan Helps Prolific Owner To Milestone

Debutant Alfirsaan made a winning start to his career in a 1,200m maiden at Sharjah on Saturday afternoon, in the process providing his owner, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum with his 600th UAE winner.

The owner`s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill was in the saddle on the winner who is trained by Champion Handler, Ali Rashid Al Raihe and the jockey said: “That is a great start to the horse`s career and it is really nice to bring up such a landmark for HH Sheikh Hamdan.

“Ali`s are running well and this could be a nice youngster to look forward to.”

The only Thoroughbred race was the concluding 1,700m handicap in which Storm Belt routed his 15 rivals under Pat Dobbs, losing his maiden tag in the process.

His trainer, Doug Watson, said: “That is only his seventh career start and we were hoping he would run well but to win like that was a bit unexpected.

“He is improving with his racing and we will have to see what the handicapper does now before making plans.”

Dobbs was completing a double having won the featured 2,000m conditions race on SNF Maher for trainer Julio Peromingo. The pair were always going well and Dobbs committed for home about 400m out. He explained: “I was travelling strongly and the gap appeared so I was happy to go for home and he has held on well.”

Trainer Tony Manuel has a fine record at Sharjah in recent seasons and combined with Daragh O`Donohoe to win the opening 1,200m maiden with AF Shbas who had finished second on her debut last week.

Manuel said: “Daragh was pleased with that first run seven days ago and we were pretty confident of a big run today and she certainly did not disappoint.”

It had been several years since Irfan Ellahi had saddled a winner but he rectified that when David Smith made all to win the 1700m maiden on JAP Mersa. A delighted Ellahi said: “He actually ran well here last week in a handicap when he found trouble in running so we were happy to keep out of traffic today and it has worked.”

Champion Jockey Tadhg O`Shea then won a second 1,700m maiden on Benyan for trainer Ernst Oertel who said: “We have made a bright start to the season and the horses are running well. That was Benyan`s first start on dirt and he has handles it well.

“Hopefully he can build on this.”