x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Estiqraar and Fantastique MHF face off in finale

Jockey Paul Hanagan will be looking to continue his fast start in the UAE horse racing season on Saturday at Friday aboard Estiqraar.

Jockey Paul Hanagan, who rode Haatheq in Jebel Ali to his first win in his new UAE season, will look to continue his fast start in Sharjah on Saturday.
Jockey Paul Hanagan, who rode Haatheq in Jebel Ali to his first win in his new UAE season, will look to continue his fast start in Sharjah on Saturday.

 

Paul Hanagan has chosen to ride Estiqraar in the meet-concluding 1,700-metre conditions race at Sharjah on Saturday, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's retained jockey says his decision is no mystery.

"He has won both his starts at Sharjah, including first time out over course and distance last year," Hanagan said of Estiqraar, the Gill Duffield-trained horse, who will give weight to all but one of his 11 opponents, "so it would be hard not to choose him."

Sheikh Hamdan also has Fantastique MHF, a four-time winner at Sharjah, in the final race.

Dane O'Neill will ride for the trainer Doug Watson, and Fantastique MHF also will give weight.

"He certainly seems to save his best for Sharjah and he probably needed his first run this season," Watson said.

"He was penalised then, and is again, but is pleasing us at home."

Purebred Arabians make up the field in all but one race, a 2,000m handicap with 16 thoroughbreds set to go to the starting line.

Bin Shamardal, a winner at course and distance, ran second to the impressive Storm Belt three weeks ago.

"He seldom runs a bad race, especially at Sharjah," said his jockey, Wayne Smith. "And [he] was probably unlucky the last time to find a well-handicapped rival."

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