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Purebred Arabian Conditions Race Headlines Sharjah Meeting

Sharjah’s second meeting of the season on Saturday is officially highlighted by a 1700m Purebred Arabian conditions race for which seven have been declared, all carrying 57kgs.

The Jaber Bittar-trained Mor’Eb, a course and distance maiden winner just under a year ago, looks the one to beat with Richard Mullen in the saddle. That remains his only career win but he was second on his only other dirt outing, also at Sharjah and the return to this surface looks very much in his favour.

“He is at least proven under these conditions and certainly seems to prefer racing on dirt,” said Mullen. “On the official ratings he has to be thereabouts and I am expecting to at least go close.”

Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea rode Zman Al Ajayib to win this race last year for Ernst Oertel and is in the saddle this time on JAP Doonick, one of two in the race for trainer Irfan Ellahi.
Xavier Ziani partners stable companion JAP Hayman.

Royston Ffench has made a flying start to the new season and rides ES Zeriyab for Saifaldin Deeb and they look the pick of the remainder.

Ffrench is also in the saddle aboard Ameer Al Sraya who bids to defend his crown in the concluding 1700m handicap, a race he won in some style last year for trainer Helal Al Alawi.

He has not won since but this will be only his second start at Sharjah since that win and the return to this course should suit him.

Doug Watson has his string in fine fettle and saddles both Fantastique MHF and Barnaamaj for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, has opted for the latter.

A maiden winner over course and distance 50 weeks ago, he will be having only his fifth career start and should run well, while Fantastique MHF was second here last week and has the assistance of Pat Dobbs.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card is a 1200m handicap and 14 are set to face the starter, including the Watson-trained Hacienda one of three sharing the burden of top-weight.

Watson won the Thoroughbred race on this card last year, with Storm Belt, an ultra impressive winner at Meydan on Thursday and is hopeful of doing so again.

"Hacienda has yet to win in the UAE but has run some really good races in defeat,” said the trainer. “The 1200m is as short as we would want to go with him but this would be the weakest race he has contested for a while and the surface should suit him."

Ismail Mohammed saddles an interesting runner in the shape of Sullivan Street with stable jockey Wayne Smith in the saddle. He has yet to win in eight career starts but showed plenty of promise in his three UAE outings last season, including when second over this trip at Jebel Ali.

Smith said: "He is a young horse with plenty of speed. Hopefully conditions will suit him and he can go close."