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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Tadhg O’Shea targets Richard Hills' record of 504 wins at Abu Dhabi

The Irish jockey is one win away from Hills' mark and rides five horses at the capital's track on Sunday

Jockey Tadhg O’Shea is one win away from equaling Richard Hills' record 504 victories in the UAE. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Jockey Tadhg O’Shea is one win away from equaling Richard Hills' record 504 victories in the UAE. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

The spotlight for Sunday's meet in Abu Dhabi will be on Tadhg O’Shea as he bids to become the all-time leading jockey in the UAE.

The four-time UAE champion jockey is one win away equaling Richard Hills' mark of 504. O’Shea reduced the gap on Hills, who retired in 2012, at Meydan on Saturday when he steered Satish Seemar’s Iftitah home for win No 503 of his career.

The Irishman is booked for five rides at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and will be confident of surpassing Hills' landmark.

He rides four Purebred Arabians for trainer Ernst Oertel, with whom he has struck an excellent partnership this season, and Seemar’s King’s Shadow in the concluding handicap for thoroughbreds.

O'Shea is on the well-fancied Rania in the open race. He rides AF Al Arrafah a half-hour later, as well as AF Mouthirah, who is undefeated in two starts, and AF Makerah in the fourth and fifth races, respectively.

The feature race is the Group 2 Liwa Oasis where Mohammed Ali’s Wadeeaa looks the one to beat.

The Mahabb mare comes into the race after going down by a short head to RB Money To Burn in the Group 3 Al Ruwais over the 1,200-metre trip five weeks ago.

Wadeeaa is drawn in Gate 1 and goes up against more or less the same field, save for the winner, and the extra 200m would seem to suit her front-running style.

Polish jockey Szczepan Mazur, who rode adeeaa to victory in the Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round 1 at Meydan, retains the ride for her fourth local start.

Ibrahim Aseel’s ES Ajeeb has a length and-a-quarter to make up with Wadeeaa from their last meeting and will be the one to spearhead the challenge again.

Wadeeaa and ES Ajeeb are both proven front runners and are likely to set a blazing early pace. That may play into the hands of Eric Lemartinel’s RB Torch, who finished more than six lengths behind in fifth.

The longer trip may suit the eight-year-old son of TH Richie, especially if Wadeeaa and ES Ajeeb run out of gas towards the end.

The Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown Round 2 for four year olds is the main supporting race.

The race will be a keenly contested one, especially between Lemartinel’s RB Lam Tara, who won her last start by more than 14 lengths, and O’Shea’s mount Mouthirah, undefeated in two starts.

Updated: March 3, 2019 11:40 AM

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