UAE jockey title nearly in Tadhg O'Shea's grasp once again

The Irishman wins four races to take his season tally to eight better than his closest rival in the chase for UAE jockey champion.

Richlore, right, was the second of four winners jockey Tadhg O'Shea rode at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday night.
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ABU DHABI // Tadhg O'Shea all but put the UAE jockey's championship to bed with a fantastic four winners, and Musharab and Jutland bagged the two featured prizes at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday night.

The Irishman rode three winners for Ernst Oertel to take the Al Asayl Stables trainer two ahead of Musabah Al Muhairy in the trainer's championship before riding AF Lafeh for Gillian Duffield to reel off his fourth in the final meeting at the capital's racecourse.

O'Shea's fourth winner in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup was crucial as he got the better of Richard Mullen, his main challenger for the jockey's crown, who rode the fancied Yazan.

"I just followed Tony Manuel's horse. I thought he was the one to beat on paper and my fellow quickened up better on the night," O'Shea said.

The four winners in the six-race card took O'Shea's tally to 32, eight more than Mullen.

The season has only six races at Jebel Ali this week, and the Dubai World Cup on March 30, where Mullen at present has only one ride.

"Hopefully, it's over," O'Shea said. "It has been a fantastic season and it would be great to add another winner or two before the curtains are drawn."

O'Shea is the reigning champion and said winning for the second time gave him more satisfaction.

"I don't ride for Sheikh Hamdan [bin Rashid] anymore and you don't expect to have so many winners when you don't ride for such a powerful stable," he said.

"It is good to do it on my own and with the help of Ernst and the Al Nahyan family. Ernst came in to this meeting one behind the leader and now he's two ahead, which gives him a little cushion, and hopefully he can hold on to it with only Jebel Ali and the Dubai World Cup left."

Oertel is in only his second season in charge of the Al Aayl Stables of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE. He has saddled 24 of his 34 winners in Abu Dhabi; a majority of the horses he trains are Purebred Arabians.

"It has indeed been a great season for us," the South African said. "Abu Dhabi has been kind to us because they stage the most number of races for the Arabians.

"But we have actually done well on all tracks considering we have only eight thoroughbreds."

Majed Al Jahouri bagged his forth Group 1 prize for the season when Musharab under Harry Bentley was a convincing winner of the Emirates Championship.

Bentley had the bay son of Njewman tucked in third for most of the 2,200-metre trip before drawing clear on the home stretch to win by two lengths from Sahib Du Clos under Dane O'Neill.

Doug Watson's Jutland under Patrick Dobbs got the better of Malthouse ridden by Mullen to clinch the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship in the concluding race for the thoroughbreds.

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