Moqarrar Tops Sharjah's HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup

Sharjah Longines Racecourse’s second meeting of the new campaign is undoubtedly highlighted by the only Thoroughbred fixture on the six-race card, the first renewal of the AED 200,000 HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup presented by Longines. Moqarrar heads the weights in the 1700m handicap for which eight have been declared.

Trained by Erwan Charpy for race’s namesake, the 4-year-old gelded son of Exchange Rate has the advantage of a previous run this season when a close second over 1600m at Meydan two weeks ago. Victorious over that same course and distance in a handicap back in January, the mount of Sheikh Hamdan’s retained jockey Dane O’Neill looks certain to run a big race, assuming he handles the Sharjah surface on his first visit to the course.

“He ran very well indeed at Meydan on his seasonal debut and we were delighted,” Charpy said. “If he can reproduce that level of form on the excellent Sharjah surface, I think this race is ideal for him and he can be very competitive.”

Golden Goal, making his local and dirt debut, looks a fascinating contender for Meydan’s Thursday star Doug Watson on what will be his first outing for a monster 722 days. He was last been seen in Godolphin blue at Chelmsford in November 2017. Thrice a Chelmsford all-weather winner for Saeed bin Suroor, the 5-year-old Dark Angel gelding joined new connections when purchased at the 2018 Racing In Dubai Sale for AED210,000. He will be having his first start in the colours of Dale Brennan who had a first, second, third and fourth from just seven runners in his first campaign as an owner last season. This will be his first runner this term.

Watson said: “He is a really nice horse and goes very well at home. His form in the UK was good and we are very happy with the draw, but he has been off a long while. He should improve for this first run back, but we are hoping for a big run.”

Satish Seemar saddled One Season, the mount of O’Neill, to win the sole Sharjah Thoroughbred race last week and relies on Karaginsky who has the assistance of stable jockey Richard Mullen, sporting the silks of Nasir Askar. Raced just once by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin when well beaten in the Wood Ditton Stakes as a 3-year-old in April 2018, he won the middle of his three local outings for current connections.

Assistant trainer Bhupat Seemar said: “This looks a good point to start him back this season. He is in good form, fit and healthy, so hopefully he can be competitive.”

Salem bin Ghadayer saddles both Philosopher and Doublet for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum with Royston Ffrench electing to partner the former leaving Xavier Ziani to partner the latter.

Mohd Khalifa Al Basti always has a strong team of Thoroughbreds and his predominantly yellow silks will be carried by Fernando Jara aboard Zaajer, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. A 4-year-old Shamardal gelding, he landed his final start in Britain when saddled by Owen Burrows for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum after which he was sold at Tattersalls. This will be just his fourth start for new connections and he ran well for a long way over 1200m at Meydan on his seasonal return.

Formerly in the care of Aidan O’Brien and then Mike de Kock, Conclusion will be having just his second start for Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Galaxy Racing. Well beaten on the first, over 2000m at Meydan two weeks ago, the 4-year-old is a rare UAE runner for Japanese super sire Deep Impact and should not be ruled out under Antonio Fresu.

The field is completed by Franz Schubert with Noel Garbutt in the saddle for Mohd Ramadan, a third runner of the campaign for the trainer who endured a frustrating season last time when drawing a blank. A 5-year-old gelded son of Dansili, Ramadan’s charge was a winner and Group 3-placed in France for Godolphin and Andre Fabre, but has been off the track for almost a year, so may well need this comeback outing and local debut.

A 1700m handicap winner for owner and trainer Khalifa Al Neyadi, Men Alemarat looks to hold strong claims in the best of the Purebred Arabian races, a 2000m handicap. Also a course and distance winner, as was the case last week, he will be partnered by Bernard Pinheiro. Fourth in that 1700m race last week, AF Abahe is back in opposition for champion trio Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, Ernst Oertel and Tadhg O’Shea. Additionally, Fabrice Veron appears to have chosen Jaahiz from two runners to be saddled by Eric Lemartinel for His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in what looks a wide open race.