Crowley steers Still Life to comfortable win in Sharjah
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.