O’Neill steals show with a treble as racing returns to Sharjah Longines Racecourse

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Hakaam, ridden by Dane O’Neill, races towards the finish line to win Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Cup.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Sharjah Longines Racecourse concluded a busy first three days of the new season with six races on Sunday, highlighted by a 2000m handicap, the Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Cup won in determined fashion by Hakaam.

Hakaam was third winner on the card for Al Wathba Racing and completing doubles for trainer Jean de Roualle and jockey Dane O’Neill, who bagged treble later.

O’Neill always looked confident aboard the 4yo who actually made a winning debut on this weekend last year at Al Ain.

He had not won since, in three attempts but took full advantage of what was basically a drop in class.

A 1200m handicap for horse foaled locally opened proceedings and the always feared combination of Tadhg O’Shea, the owner who retains him, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, and his main trainer Ernst Oertel began in fine style with the ultra game AF Marmuq battling to a game success.

Homebred, the 4yo colt was always prominent on the nearside before hitting the front outright shortly after halfway. He was then headed by AS Qoot but fought back valiantly to lead again when it really mattered.

Also for UAE-breds, the following 1000m maiden for 3yos, all making their debut, was won stylishly by Sadiq Al Wathba, a second winner on the weekend for the combination of jockey Dane O’Neill, trainer Jean de Rouall and owners Al Wathba Racing.

Having chased the early speed, O’Neill always looked confident and took the initiative inside the final 450m after which the race was soon over as a contest.

A 2000m maiden was pretty much all about one horse with apprentice Marcelino Rodrigues soon out in front on 5yo debutant AF Mouhayer who proved a resolute partner in the closing stages for Ernst Oertel in the colours of Champion Owner Nabooda, completing doubles for owner and trainer.

Pat Dobbs does not ride too many Purebred Arabians but was seen at his very best in a 1700m handicap with a more than polished performance to land the spoils aboard Farhaan for trainer Jean-Claude Pecout and complete a double on the card for Al Wathba Racing.

The finale and sole Thoroughbred race on the card also went to O’Neill, completing a treble, on Shadwell’s Al Hadeer who probably never realised he had five rivals having gone straight to the front and clear at halfway, trainer John Hyde scoring with his first runner of the season.

It was a first career success for the 6yo gelded son of War Front but well deserved after he twice finished second over this course and distance last season, as well as filling the same position in Al Ain in March.

 

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