Al Nabooda and Oertel dominated in Sharjah

AF Thobor ridden by Szczepan Mazur

Racing at Sharjah Longines Racecourse on Saturday afternoon, November 28, was dominated by Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel.

The opening 1200m maiden, for colts and geldings foaled in the UAE, was won by a determined debutant in the shape of AF Thayer (AF Alsalaam x Aberfeldy by Amer) who was soon in front under Tadhg O’Shea and probably never headed despite a persistent challenge from the far more experienced Shawall, the race between the pair from shortly after halfway. Riding for his main employer, Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Ernst Oertel, O’Shea had to conjure up a brave effort from the homebred 3-year-old colt, in doing so denying a 5-year-old gelding who had already had no less than 15 starts.

O’Shea said: “Full credit to my horse who has shown plenty of speed early on and then a fantastic attitude to hold off the second who has plenty of placed form. Hopefully he will improve with that experience behind him and he should stay further, so with luck, there is more to come from him.”

AF Thayer ridden by Tadhg O’Shea

Thirty minutes later, the fillies’ equivalent, was a memorable one for the connections of AF Sahwa (Victor Adam x Hermes De Carrere by Tidjani) with apprentice Nathan Crosse opening his local account at just the second attempt and seeing trainer Mohamed Ramadan back among the winners after two blank seasons. It was just a second UAE success for owner Ahmed Obaid Mohd Al Neyadi.

The success looked unlikely entering the final 500m when early leader Ashjaan went clear under Fabrice Veron and Crosse’s mount had more of her 11 rivals in front of her than behind. However, the 4-year-old, actually bred by Al Nabooda, on just her second career start having never landed a blow over 1000m at Al Ain a fortnight ago, realised what was required of her about 400m home, finishing fast to snatch the spoils close home.

The ever enthusiastic Ramadan bellowed his filly home and said: “That was very exciting and a great performance from an inexperienced filly and promising young jockey. She learned plenty on her debut and appreciated the extra 200m here. She will stay further also.”

AF Sahwa ridden by Nathan Crosse

Thirty minutes later Al Nabooda was again celebrating as an owner after a 1000m handicap in which he owned four of the 15 runners with the three saddled by Oertel finishing first, second and third. This time O’Shea could only watch on as his choice, AF Meeqat (Mahabb x Voici Kossack by Bengali D'Albret) faded in the final 100m to finish third. Meanwhile, AF Hajeej (AF Alsalaam x Khouteez by Khoutoubia) and apprentice Hugo Lebouc, who appeared to be almost unseated 250m out, had hit the front, strongly challenged by AF Thobor (AF Al Buraq x Voici Kossack by Bengali D’Abret) and Szczepan Mazur. The latter pair snatched the initiative in the final 50m to win cosily. A 9-year-old entire horse, it was a sixth career success for the veteran and first since defeating AF Meeqat over 1200m here at Sharjah just over a year ago.

Al Nabooda said: “That was a very pleasing outcome as I also bred the three of them which is particularly satisfying for me. As I have said very many times Ernst Oertel is a very good trainer and we have a great team behind us.”

The owner added: “Tadhg O’Shea is obviously a big part of that, but even he cannot pick the right horse each time. It has been a good afternoon so far.”

AF Mezmar ridden by Szczepan Mazur

The Al Nabooda and Oertel bandwagon rolled on in a third contest restricted to horses foaled locally, a 2000m handicap, with O’Shea having to settle for second this time aboard AF Mahaleel. They completed a 1-2 for owner and trainer with, again, Mazur the beneficiary of a winning spare ride.

Partnering AF Mezmar (AF Al Buraq x AF Wardat Biladi by Madoua De  Piboul), the young Polish jockey drove his mount to the head of affairs and he found a willing partner who never really looked likely to be denied, showing a tenacious attitude to see off Ma’Aaly and always holding O’Shea on his stable companion. It was a third career success for the homebred 5-year-old entire whose previous taste of victory was also over this Sharjah 1700m in February and he won his maiden, over 1200m, on the same track on his second start in December 2018.

Mazur said: “You always know when riding for these connections that you have some kind of chance and I have been lucky enough to get on a pair of winners this afternoon. I am very grateful for the opportunities.”

Ajaj ridden by Bernardo Pinheiro

With Al Nabooda and Oertel not represented in the concluding 1700m handicap, Mohamed Daggash was able to take full advantage, saddling Ajaj (Al Amyr x Nasma Al Chame by Kesberoy) to success for owner HE Abdulla Bakheet Saif Murshed Al Marar with Bernardo Pinheiro performing the steering. Settled in midfield, they made notable progress on the home turn before staying on strongly to lead in the final 50m, denying stable companion AF Fakhama (Al Kesbe x AF Hakimah by Amer) what looked a likely winner at the top of the straight under Fernando Jara.

Source and photos: Emirates Racing Authority

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