Mullen claims Sheikh Hamdan Cup as Sharjah double for ‘red hot’ Fresu - GulfToday

Mullen claims Sheikh Hamdan Cup as Sharjah double for ‘red hot’ Fresu


Sheikh Abdullah Bin Majid Al Qasimi, President of the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club, Sultan Mohammed Khalifa Al Yahyaee, Patrick Aoun, Richard Mullen and Rashed Bouresly during the presentation ceremony.

 Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, a 1700m handicap and the only Thoroughbred race on the card, was the undoubted highlight at Sharjah Longines Racecourse on Sunday, with 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.

It was a fourth start already this season for the tough gelding who was improving with each outing as the campaign has progressed and is now the winner of four races, this being his first success away from the Meydan dirt track.

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.

SharjahLongines-Horse Richard Mullen guides Shanty Star to victory in Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup at Sharjah Longines Racecourse on Sunday.

Raced twice on turf in France, finishing runner-up on debut over 1400m and then fourth stepped up to 1600m, he showed plenty of speed dropped in trip here, chasing the early pace before dashing clear about 275m from home. He was then never going to be caught.

Over the same 1200m, the fillies and mares’ equivalent provided Antonio Fresu another winner on a productive weekend, following his Meydan treble on Friday, he probably never headed aboard Muram for Al Reef Stables and Jaber Bittar.

Fresu, who revived his challenge for the UAE jockey’s championship with three wins at Meydan’s third meeting on Friday, 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 Mamar, providing rookie handler Hamad Al Marar a first success ever.

Last season, the Italian was involved in a tense battle for the jockey’s crown with Tadhg O’Shea before the Irishman pulled clear towards the end to win a 10th title.

Having just her second career start, the 3yo had finished fourth, but well beaten, on debut when never able to land a blow over 1000m here at Sharjah a month ago.

She clearly benefitted for that experience and appreciated the extra 200m, although she was tiring in the final 75m.

Saif Al Balushi found a willing partner in AS Qoot who responded to his every call to hit the front inside the final 75m of a 1000m handicap for Khalifa Al Neyadi and owner Sheikh Hamed Bin Khadim Bin Butti.

It was just a second career victory for the 5yo mare, who was always prominent before asserting when it mattered, her previous win registered in a 1600m Al Ain maiden, on just her fourth start, at the beginning of April 2021.

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.

Having disputed the lead for much of the early stages with the same connections of AF Nashrah, O’Shea grabbed initiative fully 900m from home but was headed, with about 250m remaining by AF Fakhama. The latter, however, did not show the same resolve and was soon headed by the winner.



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