The HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, a 1700m handicap and only Thoroughbred race, was the undoubted highlight on the card, Richard Mullen shining aboard Shanty Star for Rashed Bouresly and the Bouresly Racing Syndicate. Committing the 6yo gelded son of Hard Spun for home when sweeping past stable companion Sendeed on the final turn, Mullen’s tactical decision proved a shrewd one, the pair never looking likely to be denied thereafter. For colts and geldings foaled locally, the opening 1200m maiden was won quite stylishly by Ali Haddad’s UAE and dirt debutant Barghash, partnered by Ray Dawson and prepared by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami. Over the same 1200m, the fillies and mares’ equivalent provided Antonio Fresu another winner on a productive weekend, following his Meydan treble on Friday, and he was probably never headed aboard Muram for Al Reef Stables and Jaber Bittar.
SECOND FOR FRESU
Fresu completed a double in the concluding 1700m handicap, a third contest on the card restricted to horses born in the UAE, partnering top weight ES Abu Mousa to a comprehensive victory in the colours of Obaid Ali Murshed Khamis Al Marar, providing rookie handler Hamad Al Marar a first ever success. Fresu took his weekend haul to five with the double at Sharjah and is now five behind leader Tadhg O'Shea.
Saif Al Balushi found a willing partner in AS Qoot who responded to his every call, hitting the front inside the final 75m of a 1000m handicap for Khalifa Al Neyadi and owner Sheikh Hamed bin Khadim bin Butti. O’Shea then found an equally determined mount in the form of AF Mouhayer, saddled by Ernst Oertel for Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the pair able to concede weight to all 14 rivals in a 2000m handicap.