x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid registers 600th UAE winner in Sharjah

Debutant Alfirsaan wins in a 1,200m maiden.

SHARJAH // Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid registered his 600th UAE winner as an owner yesterday afternoon when debutant Alfirsaan triumphed in a 1,200m maiden on the Sharjah dirt under the owner's retained jockey Dane O'Neill.

Champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddled the winner and O'Neill said: "That is a real milestone for Sheikh Hamdan and I am glad I was on board to help him achieve it."

Arguably the most impressive winner of the afternoon was Storm Belt who made light work of 15 rivals in the concluding 1700m handicap, the only Thoroughbred race on the card.

Pat Dobbs was in the saddle for trainer Doug Watson and it was a second winner on the afternoon for the jockey who had earlier partnered SNF Maher to land the official feature, a 2000m conditions race, for Julio Peromingo. "It's been a good few days as I had a nice winner at Meydan on Thursday and now two here. Long may it continue," said Dobbs.

Al Ain-based trainer Tony Manuel rarely leaves Sharjah empty-handed and combined with Daragh O'Donohoe to land the opening 1200m maiden with AF Shbas who was going one place better than he had on his debut over course and distance last week.

It had been a long wait but after almost five years since his previous winner, Irfan Ellahi saddled JAP Mersal who made all in a 1700m maiden under David Smith.

A delighted Ellahi said: "It has been a while but we were actually quite hopeful as this horse was a bit unlucky last week so we decided to jump out in front and avoid any trouble. Fortunately it has worked.

Champion Jockey Tadhg O'Shea rode the other winner, the Ernst Oertel-trained Benyan in a 1700m maiden for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE.

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