Tadhg O’Shea maintained his 10-winner lead over Antonio Fresu with the two jockeys winning a race each in Abu Dhabi’s seventh meeting of the season on Thursday.
Fresu claimed the second race on top of Musabah Al Muhairi’s Zafaranah and O’Shea grabbed the fourth race on Ernst Oertel’s AF Majalis to take his tally to 31 wins for the season.
O’Shea prevailed in a tight three-horse finish in a photo from Gold Silver (Adrie de Vries) and Bshara (Richard Mullen) with a nose and short head separating the first three home.
AF Majalis’ victory took Oertel’s tally to 20, three behind the leader and seven-time UAE champion trainer Doug Watson, who bagged the concluding thoroughbred handicap with Fawaarez.
“I thought our fellow would win by a length when he came through a run but had to settle in an exciting photo between three horses,” Oertel said of the seven year old’s sixth success in 17 starts.
“Having said that, it was the win that mattered at the end. He seems to love this track and trip as five of his wins have now come over the course and distance. He’s also won over a mile on this track, and perhaps, he can go well over the 1,400m trip.”
Dane O’Neill rounded off the meeting by steering Watson’s Fawaareq in the concluding handicap for thoroughbreds.
O’Neill settled the 10 year old Invincible Spirit gelding behind Ahmed bin Shemaili-trained pair Green Team Station and Beluga Gold before racing to the front from 100m out to win from the fast finishing Exceedingly Regal by three quarter length.
Al Shemaili’s trio Green Team Station, Chosen Mark and Beluga Gold – finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
“We got into a good position and he picked up well on the home stretch to win pretty well. He’s ten but more than capable of winning a prize like this as he did tonight,” O’Neill said.