Dubai: Course regulars are likely to be in the mix when the Sharjah Equestrian Club stages its second meeting of the season on Saturday, with a thoroughbred event looking the pick of the afternoon’s six races.
Top weights Skycruiser and Bin Shamardal are expected to fight out the finish having shown good early-season form and more importantly a penchant for the track, which is characterised by its 1,200-metre home straight.
Skycruiser, who is prepared at the in-form Zabeel Stables by Satish Seemar, won at the first asking at Meydan’s opening fixture of the season, dominating a competitive maiden to win by a length and three quarters. On the strength of that showing he is taken to take to the track once again and extend Seemar’s strong start.
Apprentice Marc Monaghan, who rode Skycruiser at Meydan, is looking forward to continuing his association with the son of Dubai Destination and said: “That was my very first ride in the UAE when I won on Skycruiser so he is certainly a favourite of mine. He clearly handles Sharjah and the team have been in good form so he should run well in a tough-looking race.”
Bin Shamardal, who is trained by Emirati Musabah Al Muhairi, won twice at the track and will be ridden by retained rider Wayne Smith.
“The fact he goes well at Sharjah is obviously in his favour and he seems in good form at home, as do most of ours so far this year,” said the jockey. “He is quite high in the weights but should at least be competitive.”
Another interesting contender is Sharjah newcomer Galactos, who is a former Grade 1 winner in South America, while Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddles course regular Florentine Ruler.
Stable jockey Royston Ffrench was looking forward to taking the ride on the seven-year-old and said: “He clearly likes Sharjah and has been working well enough so I am hoping for a good run in a competitive race.”
Ernst Oertel’s Al Asayl Stables have made a good start to the season and respect must be given to Shahin Shah, who brought home the bacon at Sharjah in 2009 when previously trained by Rod Simpson.
The South African handler remarked: “We have made a good start to the season and Shahin Shah worked well the other day and is back on a course he likes, so I am hopeful.”
The meeting also features five races for Purbred Arabians.
The first race is at 2.30pm and entrance is free.