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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Jockey Tadhg O’Shea rides into record books with UAE win No 503

Irishman rides AF Al Moreeb to victory in opening race at Abu Dhabi to move level with Richard Hills' all-time mark

Tadhg O’Shea, left, poses with AF Al Moreeb after winning the first race at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday, the Irishman's 503rd winner on UAE soil. Pawan Singh / The National
Tadhg O’Shea, left, poses with AF Al Moreeb after winning the first race at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday, the Irishman's 503rd winner on UAE soil. Pawan Singh / The National

Tadhg O’Shea joined Richard Hills as the most successful jockey of all time in the UAE with victory No 503 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The six-time UAE champion jockey got off to a perfect start with a victory in the opening race on the Ernst Oertel-trained AF Al Moreeb. The Irishman had a further five chances to make the record his own had to settle for equalling Halls' mark at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

“It was fantastic to equal the record and I hope that I can win and surpass that on another day,” said O’Shea who first arrived in the UAE as an apprentice in 2001.

“I didn’t think when I came here for the first time that I’ll be lucky and privileged to ride as many winners.

“I have lot of people to thank - too many to mention - but they all know who they are, lots of trainers and owners.

“It has been a very lucky place for me and my family. The main thing was to stay healthy, and hopefully, I will have few more winners by the end of the season.”

O’Shea, 37, was denied a second win on the night in the third race by Richard Mullen, his teammate at the Zabeel Stables. He had the option of riding AF Makerah and AF Yatroq, winners for Oertel in the second and fourth races respectively, but passed them up.

“It was very tough for him [O'Shea] today. He had six horses to choose from, and you flip a coin to see which one," Oertel said.

“You gallop them at home and one is better today and next day the other one is better. He had a tough choice and made the right one in the first race. He has plenty of races coming up and it will happen for him next time.”

O’Shea has 10 meetings left, including the Dubai World Cup on March 30, in which to add to his tally. He is also chasing a seventh UAE Jockeys' title, leading the championship race with 40 winners, two more than his closest challenger Mullen.

Mullen rode the Jean de Roualle-trained Hazeme to victory in the third race, a 2,200 metre Handicap.

Oertel saddled three winners under three jockeys – O’Shea, Adrie de Vries and Breet Doyle - to take his tally to 42 and lead the UAE Trainers' championship from Satish Seemar by seven winners.

Updated: March 10, 2019 09:02 PM

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