Dubai: Talented young Irish rider Nathan Crosse scaled a personal milestone at the Sharjah Longines Racecourse on Saturday when he scored a double, including a notable victory in the HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup Presented by Longines for a maiden UAE victory.
Riding the Doug Watson trained Galvanize, a veteran of over 20 starts in the UAE, Crosse rode a blinder to hold off a surging Pat Dobbs aboard Golden Goal, to prevail by a head in the thoroughbred contest.
Crosse, who hails from South Tipperary in Ireland, is an apprentice based with Satish Seemar’s Zabeel Stables in Dubai.
However, Saturday’s pair of wins, the first coming aboard Af Sahwa in the Longines Spirit Collection Chronometer - helped him notch a 50th career win which took him another step closer towards shaking off his apprentice claim and into the 1.5kg allowance bracket.
“It’s a great feeling to have your first winners in the UAE,” Crosse said. “I was lucky to pick up the spare ride on Doug’s Galvanize who is a horse with some nice early career form.
“He ran at Meydan last week and the handicapped dropped him 6kg for that ride and together with my 2.5lb claim off his back it really helped him and perhaps that’s what made the difference in the end.
“But not to take any credit away from him, he’s a nice horse. He travelled beautifully the whole way. I didn’t have to ask him too much as he picked up nicely and stuck on for a good win,” he added.
“Now that I’ve ticked one of my list, my aim is to ride for as many trainers as I can and to get as much experience as I can in my first season in the UAE. Obviously finishing my claim as soon as possible is my primary objective,” Crosse added.
Galvanize, who began life as a graduate from the 2016 Fasig Tipton Sales in Lexington, Kentucky, was posting his sixth win in 28 career start. He was bred out of the great Medaglia d’Oro by the Niarchos family.
Meanwhile, trainer Ernst Oertel, who is based at the Desert 1 Stables in Abu Dhabi, made a successful foray to Sharjah where he swept three of the first four races capping the hatr-trick with a 1-2-3 finish in the Longines Spirit Collection Trophy handicap.
The trio were led home by Af Thobor and Sczcepan Mazur with a length a three quarters to the runner-up Af Hajeed and apprentice Hugo Lebouse. UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea was third aboard the fancied runner,Af Meeqat.
All three horses are bred by Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, the champion breeder in the Emirates. “We have some nice horses in the stable and it’s good to see them run well,” said Oertel.
“We ran a baby first time out (Af Thayer) and he won well, which is a really nice feeling. We also saw our old favourite, Af Thobor win well which is great.
“We’re happy if our horses run well and stay competitive.”
The final race on the card, the Longines Spirit Collection Cup, was won by the Mohamed Daggash-trained Ajaj.