17 December 2016, Sharjah ~ UAE Champion Trainer, Doug Watson, intent on retaining his crown, followed up his five winners at Meydan on Thursday, 15 December, by landing the featured 1700m handicap at Sharjah on Saturday afternoon, courtesy of Hakim.
Pat Dobbs, stable jockey for Watson at Red Stables, was aboard three of the yard’s winners on Thursday, and in the 1700m Handicap soon took the front on Hakim, securing, what looked to all, a relatively easy lead.
Traveling strongly and seemingly enjoying himself down the back straight, Hakim (AL Nasr) responded when Dobbs asked at the top of the straight and soon put daylight between himself and 13 toiling rivals, finishing 2 1/2 lengths before second, Cloe De Faust, and third by almost another 2 lengths, RB Burning Ash.
Watson was not on the course but the owner’s, EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club), certainly were in good numbers to cheer home their winner.
“We as a syndicate actually had a winner in England at the same time Doug was doing so well at Meydan on Thursday,” EERC spokesman Justin Byrne enthused. “This horse is very capable, as he has shown today and, hopefully, he can follow this up as he has lots of ability but Pat deserves a lot of credit for this win as he judged it perfectly from the front.”
Elise Jeanne is another trainer who has made a great start to the campaign and she saddled her fifth winner of the season when MH Lazzaz (Gerbya) landed the opening 1200m handicap with a gutsy display.
Settled in midfield by Adam McLean, the 8-year-old grey made smooth progress to lead about 300m from home, only to be headed in the final 100m by Tamooh S.
McLean’s mount was not in the mood for second and fought back valiantly to win by a length to provide his apprentice jockey a first UAE winner. “It has been a while coming,” said McLean. “But, obviously, it is great to get the first winner on the board. I am learning a lot here and it is a great experience.”
Yas Horse Racing Management celebrated their first success as owners when Jose Santiago drove the Sh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan-bred Kardoos (Saklawi Jadran), trained by Frenchman Jean de Roualle, to an ultimately comfortable success in a 1200m maiden.
Losing his maiden tag at the 16th attempt, Kardoos was having a fifth outing in the UAE and the straight and flat Sharjah sprint track appeared to really suit him. De Roualle said: “He has shown us speed at home so we dropped him in trip and it has worked well.”
Trainer Ernst Oertel and his main patron, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda provided the 1-2 in a 1700m maiden to continue their productive campaign. Richard Mullen, jockey for the majority of the team’s runners, went to the front a long way out on AF Yathroq and, entering the straight was challenged by stable companion AF Al Bokht under Antonio Fresu. Mullen’s mount found plenty left under pressure and shot clear inside the final 200m to make an easy win.
“It was the second start, after good debuts, for both horses,” said Al Nabooda. “We thought we had two good chances and they ran accordingly.”
The finale, a 2000m conditions contest, went to Qassam W’Rsan, ridden by Cameron Noble and a first winner of the season for trainer, Jaci Wickham, celebrating her 100th UAE victory as a trainer.
The only Thoroughbred contest was a 1200m maiden and it produced a thrilling finish, which looked unlikely 300m from the post when Richard Mullen and Deserving Honour looked to have the race in safe keeping.