December 29, 29012, Sharjah ~ Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, with a treble and weighing room colleague Dane O’Neill with a double, were the men to follow at Sharjah on Saturday afternoon, the final UAE meeting of 2012.
O’Shea was keen to get to the front on the Gill Duffield-trained AF Hasba (Mahabb (AE) – Bucelia Du Cayrou by Dormane) in a 1700m maiden and the pair were never headed with O’Shea making a decisive dash for home about 600m out. That proved a race-winning move and they never looked likely to be caught to open the jockey’s account for the afternoon. AF Hasba is owned by Khalid Al Nabooda.
O’Shea completed his double in a second 1700m maiden which he won comfortably on Callateral (Calin Du Loup (FR) – Tomoka Kate (US) by Ala Croixnoire), owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan and trained by Ernst Oertel and went on to provide the owner and trainer with doubles on Richlore.
Richlore (TH Richie (US) – Lore (US) by Wiking) concluded the 1700m conditions race to the delight of O’Shea who said: “Obviously it has been a great afternoon and all three have won decisively. I was keen to get on with things with AF Hasba and that has suited her being out in front, while we know Callateral stays further so I was happy to commit for home turning in. Richlore won nicely and this 1700m course and distance has certainly been kind to me today.”
HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum is in a strong position to retain his Champion Owner’s crown and supplied the 1-2 in the only Thoroughbred race a 1200m handicap.
His first colours were carried by Paul Hanagan on Serhaal, a 1000m winner at the previous meeting for Champion Trainer, Ali Rashid Al Raihe but it was Dane O’Neill who landed the spoils on the Doug Watson-trained Darej who ran on too strongly for Hanagan’s mount.
Watson said: “That was a nice effort and he has virtually led all the way which was the idea. Dane has given him a nice ride and I imagine we will stick to sprints now.”
O’Neill quickly registered a double with a comfortable success on Ameer Al Sraya in the following 2000m maiden for trainer, Tony Manuel who also saddled runner-up AS Alkhattaf. Manuel was top trainer at Sharjah last season with six winners and this victory equaled that tally to his delight.
“The dirt track here at Sharjah just seems to really suit our horses,” he said. “We thought we had some good chances today but you can only hope of saddling first and second in these big fields.”
The handicapper must have been delighted with his efforts after the 1700m handicap won by Helouane with Adrie De Vries in the saddle for trainer Jaber Bittar with the first six home, separated by just two and a quarter lengths. Drawn 16 of 16, De Vries opted to settle his horse right out the back before weaving through rivals to lead virtually on the line.