Helal Al Alawi has backed Sharkh to win more prizes after a successful local debut at Al Ain’s seven-race meeting for Purebred Arabians on Saturday.
Sharkh, under Pat Cosgrave, travelled prominently throughout the 1,800-metre trip. He raced clear on the home stretch but won only by a short head from the fast-finishing Will Power, who had Bernardo Pinheiro in the saddle.
“He’s been working well since arriving from France in the summer and got his act together in his very first start with a very pleasing effort,” Al Ain-based Emirati trainer Al Alawi said.
“He’s run a couple of races in France and this was his first run on the dirt. I would like to think he can handle both the turf and dirt, and hopefully win a few more prizes for us as the season progresses.”
Abdallah Al Hammadi, who saddled runner-up Will Power, completed a double on the night under two different jockeys.
Ottoman, under Polish jockey Szczepan Mazur, won the second race before Brazilian rider Pinheiro completed the double in the fifth race to take the Emirati trainer’s tally to four wins for the season.
On Sunday, Abu Dhabi host their second meeting of the season; a mixed card made up of five races for Arabians and one for the thoroughbreds.
The highlight is the Rated Conditions prize for the thoroughbreds that has drawn the maximum 14 runners over the 1,600-m distance.
Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s Taamol, winner of the Listed President’s Cup and the National Day Cup, is the choice of stable jockey Connor Beasley and looks the one to beat.
The veteran Emirati trainer is double handed in the race with Yaalail (Sandro Paiva), and said: “Both horses are in good form and run well at Abu Dhabi. This is a good start point for them early in the season.”