Thursday 19 September 2019

Watch: Sharjah adds Ryanair crown to his Galway and Morgiana hurdle triumphs to boost Cheltenham credentials

Sharjah, with Patrick Mullins up, left, jump the last ahead of Samcro, with Jack Kennedy up, centre, and Tombstone, with Davy Russell up, on their way to winning the Ryanair Hurdle during day four of the Leopardstown Festival at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Sharjah, with Patrick Mullins up, left, jump the last ahead of Samcro, with Jack Kennedy up, centre, and Tombstone, with Davy Russell up, on their way to winning the Ryanair Hurdle during day four of the Leopardstown Festival at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Sharjah provided jockey Patrick Mullins with yet another famous day when sprinting clear to win the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The pair teamed up to scoop the pot in the Galway Hurdle in the summer, but Sharjah has subsequently taken his form to another level.

Last time out he comfortably accounted for stable companion and former champion hurdler Faugheen in the Morgiana Hurdle and this time he was Willie Mullins' second string again behind Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon.

It was Samcro who was sent off the 6-4 favourite though, and when Jack Kennedy cruised alongside his pacemaker Tombstone, everything looked to be going according to plan.

Gordon Elliott's Ballymore Novices' Hurdle winner found disappointingly little though, while Sharjah displayed an electric turn of foot which forced his rider to take a pull as he was travelling so fast running down to the last.

Having safely navigated the final flight, Sharjah went clear on the run to the line to beat Supasundae by three and three-quarter lengths.

Melon got the better of a battle with Samcro for fourth with Tombstone battling back for third.

 

In the other Grade One of the day, Delta Work made it three wins in three starts over fences as he claimed the Neville Hotels Novice Chase.

His owner, Gigginstown House Stud, dominated the race with five of the seven runners, but it was Gordon Elliott's charge who emerged the victor.

It looked like turning into an intriguing battle approaching the last as Joseph O'Brien's Mortal was laying down a stern challenge.

However, he made a mistake while Delta Work flew it for Davy Russell and the race was over as a contest.

The 8-15 favourite pulled eight lengths clear to land his second Grade One of the season, with his biggest danger coming when he was almost brought down by the early fall of his stablemate Ben Dundee.

"He was probably lucky as Ben Dundee nearly brought him down early," said Elliott.

"Davy said he's gone very idle and he wasn't doing a whole lot from the second last until after the last when he gave him a thump.

"He said the ground is as quick as he wanted it. He was just a bit careful early.

"He's a lovely horse. I put a hood on him and he's actually gone very relaxed now which is great, I'm going to leave it on him.

"Davy was happy enough. We were lucky Joseph's horse made a mistake at the last, but Davy was happy enough that he had still plenty in the tank.

"I'd imagine he'll come back here (for the Dublin Racing Festival), that looks the obvious route for him.

"It's nice to get another Grade One and we're very happy.

"It's probably a good thing that he's settled now, to be getting three miles. He's a good horse, he was a 150-rated hurdler and he loves a battle as well.

"I'd imagine he'll go down the RSA Chase road."

Online Editors

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport