ES Ajeeb and Habah carry top weights in Sharjah features - GulfToday

ES Ajeeb and Habah carry top weights in Sharjah features


Crown Prince of Sharjah Cup and Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup will be the highlights of a six-race card at the Sharjah Longines racecourse.

Sharjah Longines racecourse stages the final UAE meeting of 2019 on Saturday afternoon, a good six-race card highlighted by the first renewal of the Dhs200,000 The Crown Prince of Sharjah, a prestige contest.

Local luminary ES Ajeeb will attempt to defend the crown he won easily last year in the 1200m affair.

Trained on the Sharjah track by Ibrahim Aseel for racecourse chairman Sheikh Abdulla Bin Majid Al Qassemi, who also bred the 5-year-old, ES Ajeeb is penalised for his victory in the 1400m Group 2 Bani Yas at Meydan. Regular jockey Sam Hitchcott is again in the saddle

“Sheikh Abdullah bred this horse and they have always had a lot of faith in the horse and is one of their most prized runners,” Hitchcott said.

“He’s the best horse in the race and has done well over this course and distance in the past. He is the one to beat.”

Representing the local champions of Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, Ernst Oertel and Tadhg O’Shea, AF Alwajel won a prestige handicap over this Sharjah 1200m just last week, despite missing the break, and also won his other dirt appearance, over 1000m, at Sharjah last November. For the same owner, Oertel also saddles AF Thobor and AF Mouthirah, the mounts of Richard Mullen and Antonio Fresu, respectively.

“That was a big effort from AF Alwajel last week when the track rode quite deep,” Oertel said.

“There aren’t many options for AF Mouthirah and AF Thobor, so I’d really be happy with a placing for either of them.”

Also carrying Dhs200,000 in prize money, the only Thoroughbred contest is a 2000m handicap titled the Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, which was inaugurated in 2017 and both editions have gone the way of Doug Watson and Sam Hitchcott.

Last year they won with 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival contender Mystique Moon; in 2017 with Say No More (also owned by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti).

This time Hitchott partners Watson’s Habah, one of three in the race for the season’s leading trainer to date. First jockey of Red Stables, Pat Dobbs, partners with the enigmatic Big Brown Bear, who has always threatened to be a DWC Carnival horse. Completing a Watson trio is EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) colour-bearer Tradesman, the mount of Pat Cosgrave.

“All three are in good form and this looks a good race for them with a nice prize on offer,” Watson said. “Habah has to give weight away, which makes her task tougher, but hopefully they can all run well in an open race.”

It really does look wide open with Mazeed, Cape Of Eagles, Mudallel, Philosopher and Gundogdu, especially if allowed an easy lead, just a handful of others to consider. The mount of apprentice Sean Kirrane, Mazeed is one of three in the race for Satish Seemar with stable jockey Richard Mullen opting to partner Dolmen and O’Shea aboard Karaginsky.

Assistant trainer Bhupat Seemar said: “All three are working well. Dolmen was a bit unlucky when second last time. We are trying Mazeed over further because there is no mile race for him, while Karaginsky did well to finish third last time after a slow start. They should all be competitive in a good race.”

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