Dubai: The UAE’s champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea has handed the Meydan surface a thumbs up.
O’Shea was named champion jockey of the UAE for a record fifth time during the post position draw of the Dubai World Cup held at Meydan on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old from Ireland rode his first winner in 1999 aboard Class Society at Tipperary for trainer Michael Halford. Exactly ten years later, O’Shea landed his first-ever champion jockey of the UAE crown, and from then on there has been no turning back as the Irishman made this title a part of his crowning glory while winning it on another four occasions.
However, there was a gradual scaling in his performances as he was first crowned Champion Apprentice in 2001 and 2002. Among his many positives was his strength in a finish, and this earned O’Shea the attention from many trainers.
From then on there was no turning back for O’Shea as he established himself as one of the best in his trade.
Last year, after falling short by just three to Richard Mullen, O’Shea’s form this season has been awesome with the coy Irishman raking up 45 winners, six more than nearest competitor Patrick Dobbs.
On Saturday, O’Shea will saddle four runners, two each on dirt and turf. O’Shea will start off with the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained AF Lafeh in the Dubai Kahalya Classic followed by Le Bernardin, owned by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of UAENOC, in the Godolphin Mile also on dirt.
But it is his next two races on turf on the Paul Rooney-owned Irish horse Ceterach and aboard Ghaamer in the Dubai Turf in the seventh race that has him excited for Saturday.
“It’s a very fair track as everybody can see. The weather over the past few days along with the rain have worked out well for the turf. It looks so rich, green and natural fresh. After it dries it is crucial, but that’s at most of the other tracks around the world. These are super conditions and we could not have asked for anything better. I doubt there will be any complains on Saturday,” O’Shea told media.
Of the four races that he will be competing, O’Shea fancies his chances aboard the Halford-trained Ceterach in the Dubai Gold Cup. “I think he will be my best, but let us not have any illusions as we are there to win each of the four,” he said.
“He [Ceterach] is very well and in great condition at the moment, and fingers crossed, even though he is not getting any younger, he still knows how to win,” the jockey added.