Sharjah lived up to the hype and hope on the final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival to carve his name in the history books of Irish racing.
Patrick Mullins and Sharjah join the greats in Aidan O’Brien’s Istabraq and Hurricane Fly by taking victory four times in the Matheson Hurdle. The achievement of the father-son Mullins duo superseded the two through all four victories coming back to back.
In a scrappy race with the final obstacle omitted, t looked like Sharjah would get caught in the pack coming around the final turn.
Mullins, who later admitted to saying “feck it, go for it”, had other ideas and steered Sharjah wide and went for the line. He battled from the final corner to the finish with the Gordon Elliott-trained Zanahiyr, who just couldn’t get the nose past the Leopardstown track specialist.
Elliott will take comfort in winning the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase, as Fury Road got back to winning ways in impressive style with Jack Kennedy on board.
Fury Road, again having to avoid the final obstacle, was not to be caught as Kennedy allowed the ex point-to-pointer to show his true capability on the big stage.
As the Leopardstown Christmas Festival came to a close, Patrick Mullins finished his four days with aplomb; winning the final bumper race “The Plusvital INH Race” to complete a clean sweep in the bumper races across the four days for Willie Mullins.
The Clossutton trainer was also crowned the Plusvital Leading Trainer with 11 winners at this year’s festival, capping another memorable festival period for the yard.