Sharjah: Champion breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah paid tribute to his ‘wonderful’ team after winning the prestigious HH Ruler of Sharjah Cup Presented By The Longines Master Collection, on a day when he reached a personal milestone of 300 career winners.
Al Naboodah has emerged as one of the most prolific breeders of top-class Purebred Arabian horses in recent years, a fact borne out by the rapidity in which he reached the landmark.
The crack pairing of jockey Tadhg O’Shea and trainer Ernst Oertel have played a major part in shaping his success story and were responsible for the victory of Af Kal Noor in the HH Ruler of Sharjah Cup and earlier with Es Chazi in the Longines La Grande Classique which took Al Naboodah to the 300-winner mark.
“I couldn’t have wished for a better moment to celebrate a milestone,” Al Naboodah said at the Sharjah Racing & Equestrian club on Saturday.
“To reach 300 winners, which I wasn’t aware of until someone whispered it to me after the race, and then to win the prestigious trophy like the Ruler of Sharjah’s Cup is a moment I’ll cherish for a long time.
“Of course, we couldn’t have achieved such good results without a wonderful team. This milestone is for all to celebrate as a team,” he added.
“This horse (Af Kal Noor) won his last race at Jebel Ali by more than 15 lengths and today he proved what a good horse he is with victory against some strong horses from strong stables.”
AF Kal Noor made all the running to win the Cup by 5¼ lengths from the UAE President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed’s Al Asayl Stables pair of Taajer and Maqam.
O’Shea, who has been in red-hot form this season, added: “Khalid had this horse in high regard and he’s won a good race.
“Mentally, this horse has got little to learn. He’s won very well at Jebel Ali and was very good on the dirt, so we had him prepared for this race and thankfully it payed off.”
“He’s a horse with a lot of natural pace I thought if there was nothing in the front I’ll let him go and ride him like the best horse in the race. He’s very good.”
O’Shea heads the UAE champion jockey’s table with 35 winners, four clear of Richard Mullen (31) and Antonio Fresu (26), while Al Naboodahis the top owner with 29 wins.
Oertel is in third place in the trainer’s champions with 35 winners, with Satish Seemar setting the pace on 36 and Doug Watson in hot pursuit with 29 winners.