Tadhg O’Shea scooped the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship prizes for both the Purebred Arabians and thoroughbreds on Thursday.
The UAE champion jockey steered Jaber Bittar’s Unleashed to take the prize for the Arabians, and completed the double by claiming the concluding race for the thoroughbreds on the Bhupat Seemar-trained Wickywickywheels.
The two winners also took the Irishman’s tally to 25 for the season, nine more than his closest challenger Antonio Fresu.
The only filly in the thoroughbred race, Wickywickywheels was making a winning debut in the UAE, having arrived with five wins when trained by Jim Goldie in the UK.
O’Shea had to bring Wickywickywheels from the back of the field. She made steady progress approaching the final bend of the 2,200-metre race, and then got up just past the 200m pole to win from Fresu and Away He Goes by a length and a quarter.
“She is a special filly and we think she is very good,” Jimmy Long, the owner, said of the four-year-old daughter of The Carbon Unit.
“She’s now won six from 14 and potentially can turn out to be a Group 1 horse. We have a plan mapped out at the carnival (from January 6 at Meydan), as long as she stays sound. I have all the family so, as a breeder, this is a big result and just brilliant.”
O’Shea said: “That is a wonderful result for the yard and a very enthusiastic owner-breeder. We are all delighted.”
O’Shea won on Unleashed for the second time and added: “I had a lovely tow into the race and then, once we were in front, he perhaps idled a bit but I was always confident we were going to hold on. This fellow will probably be better over a bit further.”
Rookie trainer Hamad Al Marar’s Suny Du Loup under Pat Dobbs clinched the UAE Arabian Derby.
The most experienced of the 14 runners, the French-bred colt by AF Albahar raced prominently behind the leading group before Dobbs sent him to the front on the home stretch to win from the fast-finishing Ajrad Athbah, under Fresu, by a neck.
Arriving from a campaign in France with two wins under his belt in seven starts, Suny Du Loup was winning back-to-back prizes in Abu Dhabi.
He was a winner over the 2,000m trip under the same rider in his last start two weeks ago and prior to that was runner-up on his debut in Abu Dhabi over the 1,400m trip on November 10.
Dobbs also completed a double on the night after steering Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Only Smoke to victory in a handicap for horses rated 75-100.
5pm: Al Rabi Tower – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,400
Winner: Maimoon, Richard Mullen (jockey), Salem Al Ketbi (trainer)
5.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Kal Noor, Marcelino Rodrigues, Ernst Oertel
6pm: Abu Dhabi Championship – Listed (PA) Dh180,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Unleashed, Tadhg O’Shea, Jaber Bittar
6.30pm: Hili Tower – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: Only Smoke, Pat Dobbs, Abdallah Al Hammadi
7pm: UAE Arabian Derby – Prestige (PA) Dh150,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: Suny Du Loup, Pat Dobbs, Hamad Al Marar
7.30pm: Abu Dhabi Championship – Listed (TB) Dh380,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: Wickywickywheels, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar