Knife Bids for Sixth Sharjah Victory

Al Alawi’s Charge Returns to Preferred Track

Course specialist Knife returns to Sharjah on Saturday afternoon and heads the weights in the concluding 1700m handicap, the same course and distance over which he won a Conditions race at this meeting last year.

Five of his six career wins have been achieved over this trip and, after a promising return to action when fourth in an identical race three weeks ago, he should make a bold bid while giving weight to all his ten rivals.

Pat Cosgrave rides for trainer, Helal Al Alawi. “It will be the first time I have ridden him but he seems straightforward enough,” said Cosgrave. “He likes to race prominently and has a lot in his favour with race conditions in his favour. He should be involved at the business end.”

Julio Peromingo, who trains on the track, saddles SNF Maher, well beaten when sixth in this race last year but twice a course and distance winner and seeking a fifth win in total at his ‘home track.’

He bounced back to winning ways here over 2000m a fortnight ago. Richard Mullen will be aboard Peromingo’s charge and said: “It is a nice spare ride and he arrives in winning form which has to be a positive. The likes of Knife always have to be feared but there are several in the field it is hard to see winning so we have to be hopeful.”

Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel is doubly represented with Kalahari Desert, second to Knife 12 months ago, and Sheikh Down, a course winner over 2000m three weeks ago and subsequently a close second at Abu Dhabi.

Interestingly, Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea chooses to ride Sheikh Down and explained: “It was not an easy choice as they both have good course form and have run well this season. There should be very little between them.”

Owner HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum has three in the race with retained jockey Dane O’Neill electing to ride Alfirsaan for trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

The only Thoroughbred race is a competitive looking 2000m handicap for which 11 have been declared. The weights are headed by Henry Clay, the mount of Pat Dobbs and one of two representing trainer Doug Watson who has secured the services of Tadhg O’Shea for stable companion, Mark To Market.

O’Shea’s mount is owned by EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) whose spokesman, Justin Byrne, explained: “We had an option for him at Meydan but thought this was a better race for him and, on paper at least, we have hopefully made the right choice.
“Tadhg O’Shea has been lucky for us this season, riding both our winners thus far and hopefully he can make it three.”

Watheeq made virtually all over course and distance three weeks ago under apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei who retains the ride for his main employer, trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

He carries the famous blue and white silks of Sheikh Hamdan, as does the re-opposing Almuftarris who chased him home and will again be ridden by Dane O’Neill.

O’Neil’s mount is trained by Musabah Al Muhairi whose stable jockey, Wayne Smith, partners stablemate, Canary Wharf.