Antonio Fresu rounded off the year-ending meeting at Sharjah with a double, including the feature prize – the GCC Cup for Purebred Arabians - in the six-race card on Saturday.
The Italian, on board rookie trainer Hamad Al Marar’s ES Abu Mousa, came from the middle of the field with an electrifying run to win the 1,700-metre GCC Cup by a neck from Jean de Roualle’s Hakaam.
It was the six-year-old's fourth win in 21 starts, all those successes at Sharjah. The two winners also took Fresu’s tally to 18, eight behind the leader Tadhg O’Shea.
Fresu rode his first winner two races earlier for Khalifa Al Neyadi’s Al Zafy, making all the running and staving off the late challenge of Ernst Oertel’s AF Dars under apprentice Marcelino Rodrigues by half-a-length.
Bernardo Pinheiro won the first two races on Maahir and Asmaa Al Wathba, both for trainer Majed Al Jahouri.
Maahir always looked in control after hitting the front entering the final 300m, running on strongly under Pinheiro, riding the homebred colt in the silks of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed’s Yas Racing.
It was a massive step up from his only previous start when very keen, leading for 1,000m before fading in a 1,400m Al Ain maiden 57 days ago.
Over the same course and distance, the fillies’ equivalent followed and trainer and jockey wasted no time completing a quick double, homebred debutante Asmaa Al Wathba always in control from the moment she hit the front at about the halfway point to score stylishly for Al Wathba Racing.
2.15pm: Sharjah Airport – Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 (Dirt) 1,200m
Winner: Maahir, Bernardo Pinheiro (jockey), Majed Al Jahouri (trainer)
2.45pm: Saif Zone – Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Asmaa Al Wathba, Bernado Pinheiro, Majed Al Jahouri
3.15pm: Sharjah Electricity Water and Gas Authority – Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Al Zafy, Antonio Fresu, Khalifa Al Neyadi
3.45pm: Sharjah Sports Council – Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: MInwer, Ray Dawson, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
4.15pm: GCC Cup by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival – Prestige (PA) Dh150,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: ES Abu Mousa, Antonio Fresu, Hamad Al Marar
4.45pm: Sharjah Municipality – Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Miqyaas, Oscar Chavez, Rashed Bouresly