Crow­ley steers Still Life to com­fort­able win in Shar­jah

Sport360 - - 2018 Abu Dhabi Invitational | Cricket - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

Rac­ing at Shar­jah yes­ter­day was high­lighted by the only Thor­ough­bred race on the card, the HH Sheikh Ham­dan bin Rashid Al Mak­toum Cup, a 1700m hand­i­cap won com­fort­ably by Still Life.

Pre­vi­ously a mai­den af­ter nine starts, he had one start in Ire­land for Godol­phin and Mick Hal­ford be­fore join­ing Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, for whom he had fin­ished third on three oc­ca­sions. That is in­clud­ing his most re­cent out­ing over this course and dis­tance three weeks With sta­ble jockey Tadhg O’Shea sus­pended, Sil­vestre de Sousa had been booked for the ride but he missed the meet­ing and was re­placed by Jim Crow­ley who set­tled his mount in third. Swing­ing for home, Crow­ley asked for a chal­lenge and they soon hit the front quick­en­ing away and ul­ti­mately win­ning com­fort­ably.

Crow­ley, who rode Er­ti­jaal for the trainer and Sheikh Ham­dan af­ter whom this race is named, to win the 1000m turf hand­i­cap on Thurs­day’s open­ing night of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Car­ni­val at Mey­dan, said: “These are the spare rides we jock­eys like. To be fair, the team seemed quite con­fi­dent be­fore­hand and I was al­ways happy in the race.

“The sur­face and dis­tance have both suited him and, now he has a win, he can per­haps build on this.”

Al Rayhi added: “He ran well here last time and we were quite hope­ful of a big run. It is nice to win a race named af­ter His High­ness.”

The best of the Pure­bred Ara­bian ac­tion was a 2000m han­d­iteam cap won rel­a­tively eas­ily by AF Abahe, home­bred by cham­pion owner Khalid Khal­ifa Al Na­booda and trained by Ernst Oer­tel. It was a sec­ond ca­reer win for the horse af­ter a 1600m Al Ain mai­den vic­tory on his penul­ti­mate start.

Rid­den con­fi­dently by An­to­nio Fresu, he made smooth progress and was rid­den to lead ex­it­ing the fi­nal turn. Fresu said: “I have been rid­ing this horse all sea­son and have started to get to know him be­cause he is not an easy ride.

“He tried to drift across again but I was able to stop him and that is two wins and two sec­onds for me on him this sea­son.”

“The sur­face and dis­tance have both suited him” – Crow­ley

Spot on: Jockey Crow­ley.

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