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Trainer Saleha Al Ghurair Records First Career Wins At Sharjah Closing Meet

Dead Heats In Ruler Of Sharjah Cup, Lands Opening Maiden

Saleha Al Ghurair not only saddled the first winner of her career on Saturday afternoon, but then shared Sharjah’s biggest race of the season, the 1700m Ruler Of Sharjah Cup, in which her MH Areeb dead-heated with the Tony Manuel-trained Al Waqqad.

Daragh O’Donohoe and MH Areeb looked to have the main prize in the bag with 100m to go, only to be joined right on the line by Al Waqqad under an inspired Adrie De Vries fresh from his Meydan treble on Thursday evening.

Al Ghurair will surely never forget her afternoon having earlier won the 1700m maiden with Jose Santiago producing MH Thirteen fast and late to pass stable companion MH Lazzaz in the dying strides and then hold the last gasp challenge of Atab. It was also a first UAE winner for the jockey.

A delighted trainer said: “That is a great result and it is brilliant to get that first winner. We hoped both ours would run well in what looked a wide open contest and they did not disappoint.”

After the big race, she added: “When they went past the post I was not sure who had won and I think to share the prize is the best thing. It has been an amazing afternoon and I am so happy.”

Eric Lemartinel and Gerald Avranche are always a combination to be feared and they provided the winner of the opening 1200m maiden with Mawared El Medam opening her account at the fifth time of asking and on her dirt debut.

Avranche said: “She has been running in better races than this at Abu Dhabi and we thought, as long as she coped with the dirt, she would go close. She really tried hard and deserved that win as the runner-up threw down a strong challenge.”

Young Irish apprentice, Marc Monaghan, in the Meydan winner’s enclosure on Thursday, registered his eighth success of an excellent first UAE season when scoring on AF Mursid in a 1700m handicap for trainer Gill Duffield. Monaghan said: “He has won and been placed here before so the surface was never a concern and I was able to get a nice berth just behind the leader before going for home as we turned. He found plenty for pressure and was very game.”

Trainer Musabah Al Muhairi kept his championship dream alive when saddling Tagseed who made virtually all under Paul Hanagan in the only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1200m handicap. It was the trainer’s 32nd winner of the campaign, one more than Ernst Oertel and he looks sure to head to Jebel Ali next Friday with plenty of runners.

Al Muhairi said: “That was a bit of a surprise as we thought Special Boy was our main hope but Tagseed showed plenty of speed and has really taken to the Sharjah dirt well. We have had a great season and it is nice to be on top of the trainers’ table as reward for everybody’s hard work all year.”

The final race at the track this season was the longest race on the card, the 2700m Sharjah Marathon Handicap and Harry Bentley landed the spoils on Laahaq for trainer Majed Al Jahouri.