Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Richard Mullen heads to Al Ain aiming to take UAE jockey's title race down to the wire

The British jockey is looking to take advantage of his Irish rival's one-day suspension at the penultimate meeting of the season

Richard Mullen, pictured with Beachcomber Bay, is six wins behind UAE jockey's title rival Tadhg O’Shea. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Richard Mullen, pictured with Beachcomber Bay, is six wins behind UAE jockey's title rival Tadhg O’Shea. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Richard Mullen has an excellent opportunity to close in on UAE jockey’s championship leader Tadhg O’Shea at Al Ain on Thursday when the Irishman serves a one-day ban.

O’Shea is bidding for a record-equalling seventh jockey’s crown after breaking the all-time record of 504 winners of earlier in the season.

The Irishman is on 48 winners, six more than Mullen, who is booked to ride in all seven races at Al Ain and seven more at Meydan in the season’s final meeting of the season on Friday.

O’Shea is missing the Al Ain meet due to a one-day suspension, picked up for excessive use of the whip while winning the Kahayla Classic on AF Maher during the Dubai World Cup on March 30.

There are six races for Purebred Arabians on Thursday, while Meydan will be an all-thoroughbred card. Mullen, as the first jockey over O’Shea at Satish Seemar’s Zabeel Stables, will have the first choice in choosing the horses.

It’s still a tough task but not an impossible one for Mullen to claim a third jockey’s title. He is booked by six different trainers in the seven races at Al Ain. His best chances appear to be on board Abdallah Al Hammadi’s Laheeb Al Reef, Somoud for Ahmed Al Mehairbi and Mohammed Ali’s Aows.

On Friday, he has got some fancied runners for his stables in the likes of Bochart, Secret Ambition, George Villiers, and Leading Spirits, who was runner-up and placed fourth in his two local starts both at Jebel Ali.

Bochart has won twice and finished runner-up three times in seven starts this season, while Secret Ambition returns after a creditable fifth in the $1.5 million (Dh5.51m) Group 2 Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night.

Meanwhile, George Villiers was runner-up to Thegreatcollection in his last start and prior to that was an impressive winner over Pillar Of Society.

O’Shea will also have seven rides when he returns at Meydan, all on the Seemar-trained horses. Speedy Move, Dolmen and Welford look to be his best chances of success.

With the trainer’s and owner’s titles already won by Ernst Oertel and Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah respectively, the jockey’s title race will be decided by O’Shea or Mullen on Friday.

Updated: April 10, 2019 04:02 PM

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