AF Thayer wins Crown Prince of Sharjah contest in style, George Villiers lands Sheikh Ahmed Cup - GulfToday

AF Thayer wins Crown Prince of Sharjah contest in style, George Villiers lands Sheikh Ahmed Cup


Ray Dawson aboard AF Thayer wins the Crown Prince of Sharjah race at the Sharjah Longines Racecourse on Saturday.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Saturday’s meeting at Sharjah Longines Racecourse season was a quality card with valuable races, worth Dhs200,000 apiece for both the Thoroughbreds and Purebred Arabians.

Over 1200m for Purebred Arabians foaled in the UAE, the HH The Crown Prince of Sharjah, a prestigious contest introduced in 2018, was win in imperious fashion by AF Thayer with Ray Dawson in the saddle for Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Ernst Oertel.

Having chased the early speed, Dawson eased his mount into contention just after half way and, once in front about 400m out, they were never going to be denied. The homebred 5yo entire has now won half of his eight career starts.

Over 2000m and the only Thoroughbred race on the card, the Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup Handicap, worth the same Dhs200,000 as the Purebred Arabian feature, was won in good style by George Villiers with Antonio Fresu in the silks of Mohammed Khalifa Al Basti in the saddle for Bhupat Seemar.

Fresu was always seemingly happy throughout the race, content to bide his time before closing to challenge on the home turn. Once he pressed the button, his mount shot to the front to record a relatively comfortable success.

George-Villiers-750x450George Villiers, ridden by Antonio Fresu, races towards the finish line to win Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup.

A 7yo gelded son of Dubawi having his first start at Sharjah, this was a sixth career success for the horse and fourth in the UAE having thrice scored on the Meydan dirt track.

The finale, a 2000m handicap, was turned into a rout by ES Abu Mousa, Fresu completing a double on the card, this time riding for Abubakar Daud in the colours of Obaid Ali Murshed Khamis Al Marar, the owner celebrating his first UAE victory.

Fresu clearly thought he was going to win from a long way out and his mount, a 6yo entire, certainly did not disappoint and sauntered clear over the final 200m to register a second career victory.

The opening 1200m handicap was contested by a capacity field of 16 but was dominated from the outset by Marmara XM who was clear at halfway under apprentice Gary Sanchez, sporting the silks of Liwa Stables for trainer Abdelkrir Adam, and just had enough left in the tank to hold on from Majd Al Meqirat.

A fourth winner of the season, his first in the UAE, for Sanchez, it was a maiden success of the campaign for both owners and trainer.

A positive ride from Jesus Rosales reaped its reward in a 1700m maiden for colts and geldings foaled in UAE, the jockey committing for home on the turn into the straight aboard AS Hajez who stayed on bravely to deny a late challenge from stablemate Al Hazeez to land the spoils for Khalifa Al Neyadi and supply owner Khadim Bin Hamed Bin Khadim Bin Butti Alhamid his very first UAE winner.

The fillies and mares’ equivalent was snatched in the dying strides by homebred 4yo debutante Soukaniah, delivered with a desperately late, but ultimately successful, challenge by Sebastian Martino to grab a narrow victory for Al Wathba Racing and Jean-Claude Pecout.


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