A first visit to Sharjah turned out to be a most memorable one for Nathan Crosse.
The Irish apprentice rode his first winner in the UAE and went on to celebrate a double by scooping the featured Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup on board Doug Watson’s Galvanize in Sharjah’s second meeting on Saturday.
His first win was for Mohamed Ramadan atop the Purebred Arabian filly AF Sahwa, which was the first win for the veteran Egyptian trainer in more than two years.
“It is such a big relief to finally have a winner [since 2018],” Ramadan said
“For a small stable like us, every win means like winning a World Cup. This was the longest wait for a winner and I’m over the moon, really.
“She joined us as an unraced filly and we had to do a lot of schooling to get her prepared. This is only her second start but we knew she had the ability to win a race like today.”
Crosse had AF Sahwa in mid division before producing a strong run from 300m to win by half-a-length from Eric Lemartinel’s Ashjaan under Fabrice Veron.
Galvanize was the icing on the cake for Crosse in the only thoroughbred race of the meeting.
Crosse produced another strong late run to lead a first three home for Watson, with Golden Goal and Native Appeal a head and two lengths down, occupying second and third respectively.
“We have always liked this horse and I am delighted for the owner, as well as the outcome,” Watson said of Galvanize.
“We had six decent chances in the race, but we have to be delighted with the first three home in what was a very competitive race.”
Adrie de Vries broke quickly from a wide gate 15 draw on Madhkal to set the early pace, a lead in which he stayed until the final 100m before being overhauled by a host of runners.
Galvanise on the inside rail did the best work towards the end. The seven-year-old held off the challenge of Pat Dobbs on Golden Goal.
Ernst Oertel racked up a treble for his main patron Emirati owner-breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda.
Szczepan Mazur, the recently crowned Polish champion jockey for the sixth time, was in the saddle on two of those winners – AF Thobor and AF Mezmar – after Tadhg O’Shea had taken the opener on AF Thayer.
“You always know when riding for these connections that you have some kind of chance,” Mazura said of his double on the card.
“I have been lucky enough to get on a pair of winners this afternoon. I am very grateful for the opportunities.”