Locked away towards the rear of the pack by eleventh-hour replacement rider James Doyle, Sharja Bridge was not simply all dressed up with nowhere to go as the tempo began to quicken, but he was clad in his Sunday finery without even the promise of a swipe to the right and this looked every inch a tale of what might have been as his path to the line was repeatedly checked in what proved a particularly messy affair run predominantly towards the far-side rail.
But his partner in the saddle remained ice cool in the face of adversity, ducking and weaving where he could, and Sharja Bridge proved the most willing ally when the gaps eventually arrived, quickening up inside the final furlong and showing a hitherto undemonstrated tenacity to go between horses inside the last one-hundred yards to eventually secure the spoils by a comfortable three-quarters of a length.
The victory was the second career success for the son of Oasis Dream, who has run some fine races in defeat this season, including a close-fought second behind the Charlie Appleby-trained Oasis Charm in the Suffolk Handicap at the Guineas Meeting, while he arrived here having acquitted himself creditably in what was appeared a high-class renewal of the Cambridgeshire Handicap on the Rowley Mile last month.
A 500,000 guineas purchase at Book One of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2015, Sharja Bridge is a half-brother to Italian top-flight winner Querari, being from high-class German family that includes 1,000 Guineas winner Quebrada, and he looks capable of developing into a Pattern-class performer as a five-year-old next season.
Roger said: “I thought it was a great performance. It’s unfortunate for Andrea but James has done a great job. He’s a talented horse who’s not quite had the rub of the green this year. I’m delighted he could win the big prize he deserved to.”