SHARJAH defied top-weight to win the Grade A Guinness Galway Hurdle for the father and son team of Willie and Patrick Mullins.

Making his handicap debut under the welter burden of 11st 7lb, the Rich Ricci-owned five-year-old travelled supremely well into contention, before jumping alongside Blazer at the final flight. Quickening up well, he kept up the gallop to score by three lengths at 12/1.

At one stage Dr Richard Newland's British raider Leoncavallo hit the front surrounded by a plethora of JP McManus-owned runners, but one by one they dropped away, with the exception of Blazer.

Blazer stuck to his task gamely to claim second, best of the nine McManus representatives, with Leoncavallo third and another British-trained runner, Bedrock, in fourth for Iain Jardine.

Market leaders Max Dynamite and Davids Charm never threatened to get involved, with the latter away very slowly.

Sharjah's career had stalled since he had a Grade 1 at his mercy at Christmas, only to fall at the final flight.

For champion amateur Mullins, rider of several Grade 1 winners, this victory will no doubt be one of the sweetest, while for his father it was a second win in two years after Clondaw Warrior in 2016.

The rider said: "It's absolutely magic. It was just one of those races where everything happened as it should.

"We got a great break, he jumped great, travelled great, we got a clear run and all I'm thinking is just don't get there too soon and don't deck him at the last like Leopardstown at Christmas.

"It's just taken him a while to get over his fall and hopefully that makes up for him having it. It's great to make it up to Mr Ricci.

"The Galway Hurdle is an iconic race, this is right up there and I'll enjoy it as much as I can."