Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 18 January 2020

Tadhg O’Shea rides his first winner for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed in Sharjah

UAE champion jockey secures victory in the only thoroughbred race of the evening

Tadhg O’Shea was “absolutely privileged” to ride his first winner for the Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed at Sharjah’s second meeting on Saturday.

The seven-time UAE champion jockey, atop Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Philosopher, scooped the biggest prize fund that was on offer for the only thoroughbred race in the mixed card with the other five for purebred Arabians.

“The Al Maktoum family has been instrumental in my success in the UAE and it was absolutely a privilege to ride a winner for the Dubai Crown Prince,” O’Shea told The National.

“It was my first ever ride in these colours and a first ever winner for the Dubai Crown Prince.”

It was also the seven-year-old Sharmadal gelding’s first run at Sharjah and his first local win in 22 starts and first since November 2016.

O’Shea was substituting for stable jockey Royston Ffrench, who suffered a shoulder injury following a starting stalls incident in Abu Dhabi the previous night.

Philosopher detached from the five early pace setters. He raced in second last for much of the 1,700-metre race but the Irishman urged him on to close the gap while approaching the second last bend.

He then took him from around a wall of horses into the home stretch to power his way through for a two and-a-quarter lengths triumph, ahead of Zaajel under Fernando Jara.

“This is his style of running,” O’Shea added. “Salem was very confident of the horse. He told me to give him a chance early on and he will finish the race very strongly, and that proved the case.

“It was very unfortunate Royston couldn’t make it but it was a lovely spare ride for me.”

Trainers Eric Lemartinel and Irfan Ellahi, and jockeys Fabrio Veron and Szczepan Mazur, were on the double at the meeting.

The Lemartinel-Veron combination won the first and third races with Maqam and Jaahiz.

“We travelled to Sharjah to win and are happy to return with two prizes,” said Lemartinel who trains in Abu Dhabi.

“Veron is our first choice jockey and rides at the stables in the mornings and knows the horses well. We have a good team and these are the results of team-work.”

Mazur, atop Qanoon, got Ellahi off the mark for the season before Jara completed the double for him on board Jap Al Yaasoob in the concluding handicap.

Mazur followed up his double in Abu Dhabi on Friday to complete another for two different trainers.

The Polish champion jockey rode Ibrahim Al Hadhrami’s Mamia Al Reef to win the second race before completing the double with a late challenge on Ellahi’s Jap Al Yassoob.

“It’s been a couple of good days in office,” Mazur, who rode a personal best 17 winners in the UAE last season, said.

“Last season’s results are proving good for me as I get more rides. Obviously looking forward to another good season. I had a thoroughbred winner in the previous weekend. Pretty good start so far.”

On Friday, Mazur rode the first two winners of the season for his main employer Al Hadhrami.

“They were both impressive winners,” Mazur said of the first time winner Ihtesham and Jabalini.

“Ihtesham showed a lot of character to fight back to win after she was headed close home. Jabalini won his first race last season by six lengths and he was top class again on his return.”

Updated: November 9, 2019 07:28 PM