Anticlimax at Meydan as Tadhg O'Shea must wait for UAE jockey record
Irishman wins in Dubai, but oversight means his bid to become most successful rider in Emirates is on hold
Confusion reigned at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night after Tadhg O'Shea rode to his 504th career victory, believed to be the new record for most wins by a UAE jockey.
But as it turns out, he only tied the all-time record set by Richard Hills. The confusion was apparently due to an oversight by Emirates Racing Authority. O’Shea clinched his 503rd winner in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, prompting the ERA to announce he had equalled Hills' record and, therefore, needed just one more win to be out on his own.
Regardless of the development, O'Shea seemed anything but disappointed.
“For me, it really doesn’t matter whether it’s a record or record-equalling win – it’s fantastic,” he said after steering Satish Seemar-trained Speedy Move in the second-last race of the card in Dubai.
“As I said earlier, we’ll celebrate the record as and when it happens. I’m over the moon right now.
“I have a lot of people to thank and too many to mention. But look, this horse really deserved to win. Richard [Mullen – his stable companion at Zabeel Stables] told me how to ride him.
“I like to keep the momentum going for the season. Winter is my busiest time with a long summer to reflect. Main thing is to stay in one piece and stay healthy.”
However, the Irishman has six opportunities to overtake Hills when he returns to Abu Dhabi, where he is booked for all races on Friday night. Even if he winds up not winning a single race then, he will have seven more chances to make history in Al Ain on Saturday.
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Meanwhile, Seemar and Doug Watson celebrated a double each on Thursday night, with both trainers making their mark with different jockeys.
Mullen led Welford in the third race for Seemar’s first winner. O’Shea completed the double in the sixth.
As for Watson, the South African handler clinched back-to-back races on Lytham St Annes under Pat Dobbs and Thegreatcollection with Sam Hitchcott atop.
Hitchcott said Thegreatcollection, who has supposedly faced better horses in the past, made the win look easy thanks to a drop in class.
“He’s run his races very well and just needs that little bit to win against better horses,” Hitchcott pointed out.
“This horse has done exceptionally well all season. It was a deserving win after some strong races in the Dubai World Cup Carnival. He came into this race as the highest rated and did it very easily,” he added.
Hitchcott tracked the leaders and led from the top of the stretch to win by five-and-a-half lengths from another Seemar-Mullen runner, George Villiers, over the 1,600-metre trip.
Block Chain made a winning racecourse debut by taking the opener under Adrie de Vries to provide Bahraini trainer Fawzi Nass his seventh winner and to go two more than his record in the UAE.
Rashed Bouresly was another trainer to extend his personal best to 10 winners on the night, when Dane O’Neil steered Spirit Of Scotland in a battle with Heraldic under Mullen.
6.30pm: Maiden | Dh165,000 | 1,400 metres
Winner: Blockchain, Adrie de Vries (jockey), Fawzi Nass (trainer)
7.05pm: Handicap | Dh165,000 | 1,600m
Winner: Spirit Of Scotland, Dane O’Neil, Rashed Bouresly
7.40pm: Handicap | Dh185,000 | 2,200m
Winner: Welford, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar
8.15pm: Handicap | Dh190,000 | 1,200m
Winner: Lytham St Annes, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson
8.50pm: Handicap | Dh190,000 | 1,600m
Winner: Thegreatcollection, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson
9.25pm: Handicap | Dh175,000 | 1,200m
Winner: Speedy Move, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar
10pm: Handicap | Dh170,000 | 2,000m
Winner: Gundogdu, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer
Updated: March 14, 2019 11:01 PM