Trebles for Shea and Oertel but Feature Goes to In-form Al Muhairi

Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel and Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea dominated at Sharjah on Saturday afternoon, both registering trebles but they did miss out in the official feature, a 1700m handicap.

Oertel is clearly determined to retain the title he won for the first time last season and saddled Noor Einy to win the opening 1200m conditions contest with Adrian Nicholls aboard the winner.

The pair denied stable companion Hab Nessnas, the mount of O’Shea, in the dying strides. “We had four in the race,” said Oertel. “We fancied Tadhg’s mount as he was just beaten here a year ago on his only previous visit but the winner has also shown he handles the dirt here.

“That is his first win since his debut and a good result for the yard and whole team.”

The jockey is certainly not going to relinquish his jockeys’ crown without a fight and promptly made all the running on Warda Al Reef in the following 2000m maiden, the mare opening her account at the fifth attempt.

She is trained by Jaber Bittar and O’Shea said: “She clearly stays very well and really enjoyed this longer trip today. She put the race to bed when I asked her to quicken about 600m out and was never stopping.”

On an afternoon where those racing prominently generally dominated, O’Shea went straight to the front on Al Yawazi in a 1700m maiden and the pair were never headed, completing a double for both the jockey and Oertel.

O’Shea said: “She was a good third here on her only previous start. That was over 1200m and we thought this extra trip would be ideal. Considering her inexperience she showed a great attitude and really battled.”

Gali Rich then completed their respective trebles with an ultra-game victory in a 1700m conditions race, the pair leading again in the dying strides having looked beaten when headed by Barnaamaj 300m out.

“All credit to the horse,” said O’Shea. “I went to the front easily on the bend. The runner-up went past us just as well but my fellow chased him grimly. It was a brave effort on only his fourth start.

“It has been another productive afternoon.”

A fourth winner apiece looked likely for the pair in the featured 1700m handicap, the concluding race, when O’Shea loomed large on Sheikh Down but the pair could not get past Wayne Smith and Zaffaan.

Smith had gone for home from over 500m out on the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained winner, third over 2000m behind Sheikh Down last time, and said: “Over the shorter trip we were hopeful of reversing the form and he ran on very strongly in the straight to win well.”

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2000m handicap, was turned into a procession by the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Waatheq, repeating his course and distance victory of three weeks ago under apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei. The pair made all, just as they did on the previous occasion, winning by eight lengths this time as opposed to four last time.

Al Mazrooei said: “These tactics really seem to suit him and I knew at halfway I had most of the others in trouble. He then shot clear on the final bend and was always going to hold on.

“He clearly really likes it here!”