Dubai: Some horses get better with age and Miniaturist, not the most successful of top stallion Shamardal’s offspring, drove home that point when winning the Longines Spirit Collection Handicap, the only thoroughbred race on Saturday’s opening day’s card at the Sharjah Racecourse.
Ridden strongly by the flying Dutchman Adrie de Vries, the seven-year-old dug deep to in final stages of the 1,700 metre contest to prevail by a neck from Fernando Jara’s Naaeeb.
It was only his second win in 21 starts and first since July 2015 when he won his maiden at Sandown Park in the UK when previously raced by Mark Johnston in the UK. Now in the care of trainer Ahmed Al Shemaili since the beginning of last year and he could be in the process of discovering a new lease oflife.
The meeting began with the Longines Spirit Collection, a six furlong contest for Purebred Arabian maidens, which was won in hugely impressive fashion by the Af Sail, the mount of champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea.
The winning tracked the leader, Yllia Des Trois Muids, for most of the trip before going to the front with a furlong and a half to run.
He lept on well and crossed the line six and a quarter lengths clear of Nasseem.
Meanwhile, French jockey Ryan Curatolo wasted no time to get off the mark in his debut UAE season whe he teamed up with fellow French handler Eric Lemartinel aboard Zuhoor to win the Longines Conquest Collection Maiden over five furlongs.
Honours were well shared at the Northern Emirates racecourse with no trainer or jockey completing a double on an entertaining day’s racing sponsored by in total by Longines.
Sharjah Racecourse will host six more meetings this season the next of which is on Saturday, November 28.