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Grand Duchy finally sheds bridesmaid tag

Wickham’s Ma’Eror W’Rsan lands Purebred Arabian feature following close finish

  • Mohammad Al Subouse’s Vernet, ridden by Royston Ffrench, crosses the finish line to win thefirst race at theImage Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
  • Some of the winning jockeys, owners and sponsors at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club’s first racing meetImage Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
Gulf News

Sharjah: After several near misses, Mosabah Al Muhairi’s Grand Duchy finally broke his maiden when landing the only thoroughbred race on the card at the Sharjah Equestrian Club’s first race meeting of the new season on Saturday.

A half length runner-up to Glenleven at Jebel Ali earlier this month, the Darley-bred son of Medicean accelerated to take the lead as the race for home began and drew away for a length and a half victory under Dane O’Neill.

Saturday’s performance was full of indications that he could come on for the run and pleased his trainer Al Muhairi.

“He’s a nice horse who hasn’t run that badly at Jebel Ali or Meydan, he’s just been unlucky. We thought we would bring him to Sharjah and see if he likes it here,” said the Emirati handler.

“He did and it’s nice to see him lose his maiden. We hope he can continue and win a few more times this season as he’s well bred and is a horse that we have always liked.”

It was Grand Duchy’s first win in 17 starts, including five when previously trained by Mahmoud Al Zarouni for Godolphin.

Jaci Wickham is one of few trainers who can attribute all their success to home-breds and the Purebred Arabian specialist won the feature event of the day with Ma’Eror W’Rsan, one of many promising horses bred at the W’Rsan Farm near Abu Dhabi.

The six-year-old was making a quick reappearance having finished third in the HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak EARS Apprentice Jockeys Race at Abu Dhabi only six days ago.

But he had to dig deep before prevailing by a neck from the hard-ridden Kalahari Desert, with favourite Knife three lengths back in third.

It was Wickham’s first winner of the season.

Meanwhile Eric Ortel notched his third Arabian success of the season when Mashahed scored by a head from Aladlah in a five furlong maiden sponsored by Sharjah Electricity And Water Authority.

Ridden by reigning UAE champion Tadhg O’Shea the winner just had that little extra something in the final strides to deny the Sam Hitchcott-ridden Aladlah.

Anthony Manuel’s Knife may have been beaten in the feature race but the Al Ain-based handler did not leave the Sharjah Equestrian club empty handed, having earlier in the afternoon saddled Af Tharb to win a 0-55 handicap sponsored by the Sharjah Equine Hospital.

Ridden by Pat Dobbs, Af Tharb crossed the line three-quarters of a length clear of Noor Einy, ridden by O’Shea for Abu Dhabi-based Ortel.