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Red Stable Hot Streak Can Continue at Sharjah with Barnaamaj

Fresh From a Meydan Treble, Watson Seeks Victory in Purebred Arabian Contest

Sharjah’s fourth meeting of the season on Saturday is highlighted by a 1700m Purebred Arabian handicap for which 10 have been declared, including Barnaamaj, trained at Red Stables by Doug Watson for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

A course and distance maiden winner last November, he was then a close second in a conditions race, also over 1700m at Sharjah before failing to fire on the Abu Dhabi turf.

Well beaten on his seasonal return in a race won by stable companion Fantastique MHF, connections hope he can bounce back to his best.

“He needed his first run back certainly,” said Watson, who saddled an impressive treble at Meydan on Thursday. “That was his first run since January as he has a bit of a setback and he should strip a lot fitter this time.

“The horses have been running really well and it has been a great start to the season.”

Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel, has two declared in the race with stable and Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, electing to ride Rehal, leaving apprentice Daniel Muscutt to partner Dawlah.

Both Oertel’s runners are seeking a first career victory.

Elise Jeanne saddles MH Areeb, the mount of Xavier Ziani and a dual course and distance winner.

Richard Mullen has forged a strong alliance with Jaber Bittar and rides Sabbaq, on whom he won at Al Ain two weeks ago, for the trainer.

In a wide open contest, JAP Joker, the mount of Pat Dobbs for Irfan Ellahi, is another with a 1700m Sharjah victory to his credit, as is his stable companion, JAP Mersal who will be ridden by Wayne Smith.

Also proven under these conditions are SNF Maher and Ameer Al Sraya, trained by Ridha ben Attia and Helal Al Alawi respectively, with Sam Hitchcott riding the former and Royston Ffrench the latter.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1200m handicap, has attracted a maximum field of 16, including Commander Cave, trained by Hassan Albloushi and a first racecourse mount for apprentice, Ali Alshowaikh. It may be a question too far for the apprentice, considering Commander Cave horse yet to win in 15 UAE starts and has not won for over six years.

O’Shea rides Saalib, on whom he won a course and distance maiden three weeks ago for trainer, Musabah Al Muhairi who has four runners in the race. The pair made virtually all on that occasion and have to be respected in another ultra-competitive contest.

Sheikh Hamdan has three in the field with O’Neill choosing to partner Etijaah for Watson. He has been second and third on his two previous starts this season, at Meydan.

He is trying this sprint trip for the first time but has shown plenty of dash so should cope at this shorter distance.

“He should be competitive,” said Watson. “He has shown plenty of speed in his races so the drop in trip should not be an issue.”

With the Satish Seemar team another in good form, his pair have to be feared with stable jockey, Richard Mullen, choosing Lord Tiger, a good third behind stable companion Price Is Truth four weeks ago over the same 1200m.

Apprentice Marc Monaghan rides stablemate Excel Best, making his local debut.