By Duane Fonseca
A day after being unseated in the feature race at Jebel Ali, Tadgh O'Shea made a strong impression at Sharjah on Saturday as he picked up a double that brought his UAE Champion Jockey title defence bid back on track.
Seven time winner O'Shea emerged unscathed from the incident involving the Nicholas Bachalard schooled Call To War in the starting gates and was back in the saddle for his other chief employer Ernst Oertel and Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, the recipients of last season's Trainers and Owners' titles respectively.
Both Oertel and Al Naboodah scored doubles courtesy of O'Shea's victories aboard AF Thobor and AF Yeheeb at Sharjah on Saturday, with Ana Mendez the other trainer to have earned a double on the six race card. Satish Seemar won the only Thoroughbred contest, while Khalifa Al Neyadi was the fourth handler to register victory at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club.
Mendez and Richard Mullen got racing underway at SERC by winning the opening 1200m PA maiden for 4yo and older horses with Rawaa who placed a length and a half ahead of Kalbahar CS with SS Rabeh a further length and a half back in third.
The next two races witnessed the completion of a quick double for O'Shea, Oertel and Al Naboodah through AF Thobor and AF Yeheeb.
In the PA handicap for 4yo and older horses with a rating until 60, AF Thobor edged bannermate AF Meeqat, the ride of Antonio Fresu, by a neck with JAP Malawih three lengths behind in third for Irfan Ellahi under Royston Ffrench.
AF Yeheeb won a 1000m maiden for UAE bred 3yos, finishing a length ahead of Eric Lemartinel's pair of Maqam, who was a further two ahead of Taajer.
Mendez completed her double in the fourth race, which was another PA maiden for 4yo and older horses. This time Noel Garbutt rode in with success for Mendez aboard Fandim, who was a length ahead of Lemartinel's Azaam with Favolo PY third, a further three and a quarter lengths in arrears.
The penultimate race on the card was the only Thoroughbred contest and was won by Seemar's Dane O'Neill ridden One Season, who took the lead in the final 300m and ran on well for a length and a half success over the Rashed Bouresly schooled Voski, the ride of Per-Anders Graberg. One Season's Zabeel Stables companion Cosmic Glow was back in third by the same margin under Richard Mullen.
Al Neyadi and Bernardo Pinheiro closed the card with victory in the 1700m PA handicap for 4yo and older horses rated until 45.
Pinheiro rode Men Alemarat in that and the pair progressed to the front 700m out and kept on well to win by three and a quarter lengths from Ali Rashid Al Rayhi's Al Yamamah Mleeh, who carried Fernando Jara in the saddle. Relegated to third by a head was Marwa W'Rsan, trained by Jacki Wickham and ridden by UAE Jockeys Championship leader Connor Beasley.
With a total of five wins, Beasley is now one ahead of Mullen, with O'Shea moving up to third with the Sharjah double taking his tally up to three.