Dubai: Former endurance rider Ana Mendez is revelling in her new role as a flat-racing handler where she is in charge of the Al Wathba Stables owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The Argentine horsewoman, who only took out an ERA’s training license two months ago, matched reigning champion Ernst Oertel win-for-win at the Sharjah Equestrian Club’s first meeting of the 2019-2020 UAE racing season on Saturday.
Mendez did not waste time to get off the mark at Abu Dhabi last week when she sent out Saarookh to secure a career-first victory that will always remain very close to her heart.
As the action turned to Sharjah, Mendez began the afternoon in fine style when Rawaa ran out a comfortable winner of the opening Sharjah Sports Maiden.
She then doubled the score with Fandim in the Longines Conquest VHP Maiden.
Mendez, a regular on the endurance scene, has for the past five years been honing her flat-racing skills that are essentially focused on Purebred Arabians, as an assistant trainer.
Oertle, who saddled 50 winners last season to win the UAE Trainer’s Champion, has his yard in top condition as was evidenced by the back-to-back winners he clinched with Af Thonor in the Longines Master Collection handicap and Af Yeheeb in the Sharjah Police Headquarters maiden.
Meanwhile, in-form handler Satish Seemar made his visit to the Sharjah Racecourse count when One Season landed the only thoroughbred race of the afternoon, the Government of Sharjah Sharjah Sports Council handicap. Stable jockey Richard Mullens did the steering aboard the Irish-bred gelding who has making his first racecourse appearance in 233 days. It was also the four-year olds second career win since December 2017.
Al Ra’ad Stables’ Khalifa Al Neyadi had to wait until the final race of the day to claim his first winner of the term — Bernard Pinheiro doing the honours aboard Men Alemarat.