Abu Dhabi 'fitting' venue for Tadhg O'Shea to reach UAE jockey milestone

Irishman goes past Richard Hills tally to become most successful jockey in Emirates racing history

Tadhg O'Shea guided AF La'Asaem, a Purebred Arabian, to victory in Abu Dhabi on Friday night. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Tadhg O'Shea guided AF La'Asaem, a Purebred Arabian, to victory in Abu Dhabi on Friday night. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Tadhg O'Shea became the most successful jockey in the UAE when he recorded his 505th winner in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

O'Shea made history after guiding Ernest Oertel-trained AF La'Asae in the silks of Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah past stable companion AF Motaghatres under Gerald Avranche.

“Obviously I am delighted with the achievement and would not have thought it possible when I first arrived here in 2001,” O'Shea said after moving past Richard Hills' tally. “I have ridden for many great people and am indebted for all their support over the years."

It will have been a long night for O'Shea who achieved the milestone in the sixth and final race of the card even though he ran in all the previous races at the capital's second-last meeting of the season. But what is one night for a jockey who thought he had sealed the deal in Dubai 24 hour earlier only to realise he had not.

Confusion reigned at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night after O'Shea rode to his 504th career victory, initially believed to be the new record for most wins by a UAE jockey. But as it turns out, he only tied Hills' all-time record.

The confusion was apparently due to an oversight on the part of Emirates Racing Authority in Abu Dhabi last Sunday when it announced a victorious O’Shea had equalled Hills' record and, therefore, needed just one more win to be out on his own.

O'Shea, though, was thoroughly pleased to reach the landmark in the capital.

“I have enjoyed plenty of success here in Abu Dhabi so it is fitting I broke the record here," he said, adding the fact he won on a Purebred Arabian made it even better. "My first winner in the UAE was a Purebred [Danidor in 2001] for Erwan Charpy, at Jebel Ali.”

Meanwhile, Omani trainer Younis Al Kalbani celebrated the biggest success of his career by winning the Dh1million Group 1 Emirates Championship with BF Mughader under Polish jockey Szczepan Mazur. “We have enjoyed a good season, but this is very special for everybody involved,” said Al Kalbani, who was saddling his 13th winner in the UAE.

Jim Crowley atop Al Zahir, the winner 12 months ago, hit the front at the top of the stretch but was overtaken by Richard Mullen on Rmmas at the 200-metre mark but Mazur challenged almost immediately.

He had BF Mughader in front and held on to win by another fast finishing Abu Alabyad (Fabrice Veron) by three-quarter lengths with Rmmas a short head behind in third. The Mazur-Al Kalbani partnership completed a double having won the opener with debutant Jabalini.

“He [BF Mughader] has always been a very good horse, but is not easy to ride because he needs everything to go right for him which, thankfully, it has today,” Mazur said. “I am based with the trainer and this is a massive and biggest result for us, which is brilliant for the whole team.”

Mullen had earlier produced a late challenge on Mohammed Ali’s Harrab in the Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown Round 3, and Avranche rode a similar race to take the UAE Arabian Derby on Octave for Emirati trainer Abdallah Al Hammadi.

Patrick Cosgrave steered Bahraini trainer Jaber Ramadhan’s GM Hopkins to take the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship, the solitary prize for thoroughbreds.

“They went a very good gallop which has suited him,” Cosgrave said of his success on board the eight-year-old gelding by Dubawi.

“Not much has gone right for this horse since he arrived in the UAE, but that strong pace was exactly what he wants and I am delighted for connections because they are only a small stable.”

Updated: March 16, 2019 02:41 PM


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