SHARJAH // Ma'Eror W'Rsan, given a confident ride by Richard Mullen, was the gutsy winner of the featured 1,700m conditions race at Sharjah yesterday afternoon for trainer Jaci Wickham.
Asked to pass front-runner Knife 300 metres out, Mullen's mount did so smoothly, only to be strongly pressed by Kalahari Desert, who looked the likely winner 100m out, before Mullen urged one last effort from his horse.
"He showed real determination there and I am delighted for Jaci and the whole team," said Mullen. "She is a great trainer and it is great to win the big race for her."
Vernet, making his debut, was the impressive winner of the opening 1,200m maiden, supplying his trainer Mohd Al Subouse with his first ever winner at the 10th attempt. Royston Ffrench was in the saddle and said: "He will improve a lot from that as he was very green but ran on well."
The 1,700m maiden was won arguably even more easily by Lwiza with Pat Cosgrave in the saddle for Jaber Bittar.
AF Tharb had to work hard under Pat Dobbs to land the 1,200m handicap with the pair always prominent before asserting close to home. Tony Manuel trains the winner and said: "This was a lucky course for us last season and this is a great start this time around."
Trainer Musabah Al Muhairi has made a great start to the season and saddled his fifth winner when Grand Duchy scored in the only Thoroughbred race, a 1,200m maiden to provide jockey Dane O'Neill a first winner of the season.
"Grand Duchy was only just beaten at Jebel Ali two weeks ago and we thought he would go very close today," said Al Muhairi.
Champion jockey Tadhg O'Shea was another to open his account for the season on Mashahed in a 1,000m maiden race. The winner is trained by Ernst Oertel for the President, Sheikh Khalifa, and O'Shea said: "It is great to have a winner in these colours."