Carlow jockey Patrick Mullins has won four Grade 1’s on Sharjah and the pair will be back in action at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival when Sharjah bids to win the Grade 1 three-mile Matheson Hurdle for the third year in a row.
Mullins says the eight-year-old is ideally suited by Leopardstown’s inside.
Speaking to Dave Keena, he explains why Sharjah is generally seen at his best at the south Dublin track.
“The drainage works very well. It’s a long, even home bend and gives him something to aim at. But I think really it’s the ground that suits him.”
“It’s funny, the track (in February), it’s much wider and gets water in the summer and he doesn’t seem to operate on that at all. But on the inside track they use at Christmas, he just seems to hop off it.
Put to Mullins, if you were to take Honeysuckle out of the equation that would make Sharjah the best hurdler around, he says it does make things a little easier.
“There’s no new novice coming up, you know. Appreciate It’s gone chasing, Bob Ollinger is going chasing, Ferny Hollow is going chasing so the mare is the one to beat.”
“Look, she’s very hard to beat but horses aren’t machines. If anything happened on a day, they might get her. But she doesn’t go to Christmas and that makes life a lot easier for Sharjah”.
This year’s Leopardstown Christmas Festival runs from 26-29 December with four days of national hunt racing including seven Grade 1 races. Mullins and Sharjah go in the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle on Wednesday 29 December.