'I doubt I'll ever have an association with a horse as good as him again' - Patrick Mullins' tribute after Sharjah is retired

Sharjah and Patrick Mullins celebrates winning the Galway Hurdle.Galway Festival.Photo: Patrick McCann 02.08.2018
Six-time Grade 1 winner Sharjah has been "honourably retired"Credit: Patrick McCann (

Six-time Grade 1 winner Sharjah has been retired at the age of 11 with regular rider Patrick Mullins hailing him an "incredible horse" who provided him some of the best days of his entire career.

Sharjah, owned by Rich Ricci, won 13 of his 50 starts and the most recent of those was on Scottish National day at Ayr last month when he won the novices' champion handicap chase on his first try over three miles, a result that Pricewise tipster Tom Segal said gave him as much pleasure as any of his winners over the last few decades.

That success laid the foundations for a sensational Saturday for Willie Mullins at Ayr as it was the  first leg of a four-timer that helped seal a famous victory in the British trainers' title, 70 years after Vincent O'Brien accomplished the remarkable feat.

Although his final victory was in a three-mile chase, Sharjah will be remembered most as a top-notch two-mile hurdler. He won four Matheson Hurdles at Leopardstown, as well as two Morgianas at Punchestown, and he also carried top weight to glory in the 2018 Galway Hurdle under the champion amateur.

Patrick Mullins: reports Sharjah's schooling over fences to have been fantastic
Patrick Mullins on Sharjah: "He's going to be very hard to replace and he'll be much missed at Closutton"Credit: Patrick McCann (

Patrick Mullins said: "We have decided to honourably retire Sharjah. He won three times this season and he's going out after his really important win at Ayr which contributed handsomely to the British trainers' title. 

"He was an incredible horse. He won four Matheson Hurdles,  the same as Istabraq and Hurricane Fly. He won two Morgianas at Punchestown as well. He won a Galway Hurdle and it's seven years now since he fell at the last in that Grade 1 novice hurdle at Leopardstown. He's given me some of the best days of my career and I doubt that I will ever have an association with a horse as good as him again.

"I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Rich for leaving me on Sharjah so often. It gave me the chance to compete and sometimes beat the best at the top level on a regular basis. It was never taken for granted and will always be much appreciated."

Mullins went on to describe what made Sharjah so special, saying: "He was a joy to ride, a rapid jumper with a serious turn of foot. He was second in two Champion Hurdles as well. 

"He showed huge versatility and longevity. Whether it was two miles or three miles, hurdles or fences, it didn't matter to him. He will be much missed, but it is great to see him go out with three wins this season. He's going to be very hard to replace and he'll be much missed at Closutton."

Sharjah won over €1 million in prize-money and, according to Racing Post Ratings, his joint-best performances were when beating stablemate Faugheen by seven and a half lengths in the 2018 Morgiana Hurdle and when chasing home Honeysuckle in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle in 2021. He received an RPR of 168 for both. 

He made his first start for Mullins in September of 2017 when winning a Gowran Park maiden hurdle and spent seven full seasons strutting his stuff on the track.

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David JenningsDeputy Ireland editor