Dobbs and Diwaan Power to the Post at Sharjah`s First Meet of the Season

Diwaan Shedding Maiden on Eighth Career Start

There was a thrilling finish to the only Thoroughbred contest as racing returned to the Sharjah dirt on Saturday with Pat Dobbs driving Diwaan to victory and denying Shihab and Richard Mullen in the process.

The winner, having his eighth career start, was also losing his maiden tag in the process but needed every yard of the 2000m trip to get his head in front to the delight of his trainer, Doug Watson.

“He has not had much racing this horse,” said Watson. “He has always shown ability at home and has run some decent races in defeat but has had a few niggling problems. Everything has gone smoothly coming into this race and the step up in trip to 2000m has suited him.”

The best of the Purebred Arabian action was also a 2000m handicap which produced almost a carbon copy finish of the Thoroughbred race but Watson was out of luck on this occasion.

Dane O’Neill had tried to make all the running on Watson’s Fantastique MHF and the tactic looked like it might work as the runners turned for home, but Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea was able to produce a well-timed challenge on Bedayer Al Asayl.

Having only her second career run, having won a maiden on the Abu Dhabi track in March 2013, the winner showed her inexperience early in the straight but dug deep to get up close home.

“She is a nice mare who has needed plenty of time and will hopefully improve a lot, mentally and physically with this second run and win under her belt,” said O’Shea. “It is nice to get that first win of the season for me personally as well!” he added.

She is trained by Ernst Oertel, who was completing a double having wasted no time in opening his account for the season by saddling Razeen to land the opening 1200m maiden. Stable jockey O’Shea was on Al Anid, who finished third, with Adrian Nicholls aboard the winner.

“Obviously that is a great way to start the season here at a track we have done well in the past,” said Oertel who supplied nine winners at Sharjah last season. “We had three in the race and hoped all had a chance and so it proved.

“Razeen takes a while to get going and will probably be better over further.”

The following handicap, also over 1200m, was turned into something of a procession by Latifa Princess on whom Royston Ffrench always looked confident. It was a landmark moment for the mare’s trainer, Hardy Hotger, training his first UAE winner with his first runner of the season and 28th in total locally.

“She travelled really nicely and quickened well,” said Ffrench. “I had a winner yesterday at Jebel Ali so well so it has been a good start to the season.”

Ffrench wasted little time making it an even better beginning to his new campaign by steering debutant ES Muzahim to victory in the following 1000m maiden for trainer, Saifaldin Deeb.

The meeting concluded with a 1700m maiden and it was Ffrench again, completing his treble on AF Farooq, trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami.