Tadhg O’Shea becomes first jockey to reach 600 UAE wins after double in Abu Dhabi

The Irishman, in the silks of Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, won the first two prizes in the six-race card

Tadhg O’Shea steers AF Alajaj to victory to bring up his 600th winner in the UAE at Abu Dhabi’s final meeting of the season. Courtesy ERA
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Tadhg O’Shea reached another milestone as the first jockey to ride 600 winners in the UAE after claiming a double in Abu Dhabi’s final meeting of the season on Sunday.

The Irishman, in the silks of Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, won the first two prizes in the six-race card. He made all on AF Asham to take the opener and returned to the winner’s enclosure half an hour later on AF Alajaj, both trained by Ernst Oertel.

The two winners took O’Shea’s season tally to 47 winners, 19 more than his closest challenger Antonio Fresu, leaving the Irishman virtually assured of a ninth UAE jockey’s championship title.

“I always said I have a lot of people to thank for all this, particularly my boss Al Naboodah, and then Ernst and his team for the huge, huge team effort,” O’Shea said of his milestone.

“I am very fortunate indeed to ride for two powerful stables, the Purebred Arabians for Ernst and the thoroughbreds for Satish Seemar in the past few years.”

The double also took Oertel’s tally to 38 for the season to join Doug Watson in the UAE trainer’s championship race, which appears to be going to the wire with two meetings left at Meydan and Al Ain.

The big prize on the night went to Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Ottoman, who made all under Richard Mullen in the Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown to win ahead of Eric Lemartinel’s Mujeeb.

“He’s a lovely young horse and always given his best,” Al Hammadi said of the four-year-old Valiant Boy colt.

“He has run beyond our expectations and tonight he showed real character to make all and win. He won the Triple Crown Round-2 and prior to that was fourth behind stable companion Hameem, in which Mujeeb finished second.

“That only goes to prove he has progressed after every run. I think he’ll come stronger from this experience next season.”