GCC Cup has attracted a quality field of ten runners including last year’s runner-up, Shareq Al Khalediah, representing Saudi Arabia for a third consecutive year.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Third meeting of the Sharjah Longines Racecourse’s season is highlighted by a relatively recent addition to the fixture list, the GCC Cup, with a fascinating field of ten set to face the starter, including last year’s runner-up, Shareq Al Khalediah, representing Saudi Arabia for a third consecutive year.
A valuable 1700m conditions contest afforded prestige status, carrying a prize fund of Dhs150,000, it is restricted to horses foaled within the GCC and has thus far been won, in chronological order, by horses trained and bred in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman.
Local Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, has been booked by Lucas Gaitan, saddling his first UAE runner, for the ride on Shareq Al Khalediah who was fourth in 2019 before his second place finish last year.
The 9yo entire is actually representing a third different trainer in the race but will carry the colours of Athbah Stud as he did last year, the owners having acquired him from Prince Turkey Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in between his two Sharjah appearances, as well as after his 2019 outing at Abu Dhabi in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown.
O’Shea said: “It looks like a great spare ride and for owners I have enjoyed a lot of success in the past so hopefully we can add to that. He is proven at Sharjah which is a bonus.
“The Omani horses could be the ones to beat, especially judging by their official ratings, but my fellow must have a chance as we know conditions suit him.”
Top rated of the aforementioned Omani hopes is Al Mustafiz, who was actually foaled in Qatar but is now racing in Muscat with handler Fahad Al Hajri set to saddle his first UAE runner.
The 8yo entire has actually had only one start in Oman, beaten just a neck in a 1600m conditions race a fortnight ago.
Prior to that he campaigned in his native Qatar, posting five Doha victories, three on dirt, the first one actually under O’Shea in a 1200m maiden in April 2017.
Also foaled in Qatar but only raced in Muscat, Amjaad is trained by Ahmad Al Yazeedi, another handler saddling his first UAE runner.
Now an 8-year-old, after 20 starts he has won just once, his final appearance in his native France, over 1,700m on turf, in July 2018. He joined Mohd Ramadan, making a very pleasing local debut in a conditions race over the same 2,000m as Friday’s race.
The Abu Dhabi turf played host to six races on Sunday and UAE champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea landed four consecutive races for a memorable four-timer, including doubles for both Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Ernst Oertel.
The seven-race card officially highlighted by the Dubai Creek Mile, a 1600m contest, was impressively won by Thegreatcollection, who under Pat Cosgrave, upset a superb field that included G1 winner Capezzano and G3 winners Secret Ambition and Salute The Soldier.
The ninth edition of the prestigious international event came to an end on Sunday after three days of thrilling action across 18 categories which had a total prize fund of Dhs685,000.
Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton is seeking a record-breaking fifth Rolex Series victory, with the successful title defence of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which gets under way on Thursday. Abu Dhabi Championship is the first tournament of the four-event
Abdullah Al Jahoori won the main open race for a distance of 120 km to help Al Wathba Stables retained the title