Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 November 2019

UAE horse racing preview: Tadhg O’Shea signs with Jebel Ali Stables plus Meydan and Abu Dhabi predictions

UAE champion jockey O’Shea has a busy opening night as he is booked in all six races at Meydan on Thursday

Tadhg O'Shea is chasing a third successive UAE jockey's title when the horse racing season kicks off at Meydan. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Tadhg O'Shea is chasing a third successive UAE jockey's title when the horse racing season kicks off at Meydan. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Meydan prepares to mark the Dubai World Cup silver jubilee next March by staging the season’s opening meeting for the first time since the flagship racecourse opened in 2010.

As racing returns for another season on Thursday night, a few changes have taken place but none as notable as the new roles of the UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea.

The Irishman, who last season moved out on his own as as the country's all-time leading jockey with 511 career wins, has joined the Jebel Ali Stables as the retained rider for trainer Nicholas Bachalard.

Busy as ever, the seven-time UAE champion O'Shea also continues to be the first choice jockey for the UAE champion trainer-owner combo of Ernst Oertel and Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah at the Desert 1 Stables.

“It works out well for me because at Jebel Ali I’ll be riding thoroughbreds and the Arabians for Ernst and Khalid,” O'Shea said.

“For me to be offered a job at Jebel Ali was a huge honour and I’m grateful. I’ll do all I can to justify the faith they have put in me.”

O’Shea, 37, equalled Ted Durcan's record of seven UAE jockey’s titles last season and is chasing a third-straight crown this term.

“Records are good and I’m happy as and when it comes but like every season, I start from scratch,” O’Shea said.

“I don’t want to say that I want to win this and that. I don’t want to set personal goals because when you do that, you may end up with many disappointments.”

O’Shea has a busy opening night as he is booked in all six races at Meydan on Thursday. He rides Laa Baas in a race for two-year-olds in the first race and later partners Top Clearance (4th race) and Giant Hero (5th), all for Bachalard.

In-between he will be aboard Satish Seemar’s Midlander, Blue Sovereign for Erwan Charpy and Jaber Ramadan’s Litigation in the concluding handicap.

The opener that has drawn seven runners of the classic generation looks the most interesting of the six races.

Last year Walking Thunder, trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, won it in the silks of the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate before going on to clinch the 2000 Guineas Trial.

The same connections send out Mambo Mischief, a son of one of the top dirt sires in the world, Into Mischief, who was purchased for $150,000 (Dh551,000) at the OBS April sale in Ocala, Florida.

O’Shea wears the Jebel Ali silks of Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid, a Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale purchase in April.

Also creating some buzz is Cosmo Kramer, from the same connections that provided the 2017 Al Bastakiya winner Cosmo Charlie. The Munnings colt trained by Doug Watson has the services of stable jockey Pat Dobbs.

Salem bin Ghadayer sends out Attribution, a Competitive Edge colt also sourced at the Ocala Spring Sale, where he cost $180,000.

Richard Mullen rides the Satish Seemar-trained Barack Beach while Fernando Jara gets the reins atop Al Modayar for Ali Rashid Al Raihe .

Helal Al Alawi's Puzzle Elegance completes the field with Pat Cosgrave back as the stable jockey for the Emirati trainer.

The action moves to Abu Dhabi on Friday for a six-race card made up of five prizes for the Purebred Arabians and a handicap for thoroughbreds.

The highlight is the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown Prep, a Rated Conditions race over 1,600m for the Arabians.

The National selections for Thursday's meet at Meydan

6.30pm: (First choice) Attribution – (second choice) Laa Baas

7.05pm: Speedy Move – Zaajer

7.40pm: Zalmi Star – Mulfit

8.15pm: Big Brown Bear – Welford

9.50pm: George Villiers – Moqarrar

10.25pm: Hucklebuck – Cranesbill

The National’s selection for Friday's meet at Abu Dhabi

5pm: (First choice) AF Yeheeb – (second choice) Darya

5.30pm: AF Arrab – Raniah

6pm: AF La’Asae – Foaad

6.30pm: RB Lam Tara – ES Ajeeb

7pm: AF Ashras – AF Hakeem

7.30pm: Travis County – Galesburg

Updated: October 24, 2019 09:18 AM

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