Tadhg O’Shea reached the milestone of 700 winners in the UAE on board Bhupat Seemar’s Switzerland on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan on Friday.
Making his first appearance for the season, the nine-year-old Speightstown gelding led from the 200-metre mark to win the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes from Mubakker by a length and-a-half, with Mouheeb a further length and-a-half down in third.
The record-breaking UAE champion jockey triumphed on a horse that gave him his first thoroughbred Group 1 success, the $2million Dubai Golden Shaheen, at the Dubai World Cup last year.
“He is very good under these conditions and runs well fresh so his absence since the Golden Shaheen was not a concern,” an ecstatic O’Shea said.
“It was like a dream come true to reach the personal milestone 700 on Switzerland.”
Godolphin rider James Doyle registered a treble on the night by winning the last three races in the seven-race card.
He landed the featured Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 atop Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Algiers - in the silks of Hamdan Sultan Ali Al Sabousi - and the next two on Al Suhail and Lazuli for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby.
Algiers, winner of the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile last year, turned the feature race into a procession, coming home six-and-a-half lengths ahead of Discovery Island and Everfast a further two and-a-half lengths back in third.
“He showed at Jebel Ali last year that he is a very good horse and he has done well tonight because we were drawn wide and I was not able to get any cover so had to forfeit ground,” Doyle said of the former Godolphin inmate.
“He stays further so connections may consider stepping him up in trip.”
The turf highlight, the 1,400m Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort, was won almost as easily by Doyle who swept past most of his 14 runners in the straight on Al Suhail, lowering the track record in the process.
“He settled really nicely from our horrible draw (widest of the 15 runners) but they went quickly which has really helped him. He always works like a really good horse and he has delivered tonight,” Doyle said.
Doyle celebrated the treble by taking the 1,000m turf sprint on Lazuli from stablemate Man Of Promise under William Buick.
RB Rich Lyke Me made all the running under Adrie de Vries to land the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 for the Purebred Arabians.
The winner of the race 12 months ago, De Vries raced to the front from gate 11 and had the race in the bag early in the straight.
“He is a very smart horse but nothing really went right for him in his two races after he won this last year,” De Vries said of the American bred seven year old son of Majd Al Arab.
His trainer Fawzi Nass, who part owns the horse added: “We were very confident to be honest but it is always a relief when they get the job done.”
6pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 – Group 1 (PA) $50,000 (Dirt) 1,600m; Winner: RB Rich Lyke Me, Adrie de Vies (jockey), Fawzi Nass (trainer)
6.35pm: Dubai Racing Club Classic – Handicap (TB) $100,000 (D) 2,410m; Winner: Enemy, Richard Kingscote, Ian Williams
7.10pm: Dubawi Stakes – Group 3 (TB) $150,000 (D) 1,200m; Winner: Switzerland, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar
7.45pm: Jumeirah Classic Trial – Conditions (TB) $150,000 (Turf) 1,400m; Winner: Long Kiss, Jose da Silva, Julio Olascoaga
8.20pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 – Group 2 (TB) $250,000 (D) 1,600m; Winner: Algiers, James Doyle, Simon and Ed Crisford
8.55pm: Al Fahidi Fort – Group 2 (TB) $180,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Al Suhail, James Doyle, Charlie Appleby
9.30pm: Ertijaal Dubai Dash – Listed (TB) $100,000 (T) 1,000m; Winner: Lazuli, James Doyle, Charlie Appleby