O’Shea equals Hills record on memorable Abu Dhabi eveningle - GulfToday

O’Shea equals Hills record on memorable Abu Dhabi evening


Tadhg O’Shea rides AF Al Moreeb during the Darrenstown Stud race in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Racing at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday was officially highlighted by the concluding 1600m handicap, the only Thoroughbred race on the card won stylishly by Treasured Times.

This card will also be remembered as the meeting at which Tadhg O’Shea drew level with Richard Hills at the top of the all-time UAE jockeys’ statistics.

Ridden by Bernardo Pinheiro for Rashed Bouresly and the Bouresly Racing Syndicate, Treasured Times chased the leaders throughout the first half of the race before quickening to challenge leaving the home turn. The 5-year-old entire son of Teofilo hit the front about 300m out and soon had the race in safekeeping, doubling his career tally at the sixth attempt, having won his only previous turf outing, a maiden over this course and distance, on just his second career outing last January.

“I rode this horse on his only previous start this season when he needed the run and the 1000m was too short,” Pinheiro said.

“He has then had a month off and obviously progressed in terms of fitness and has enjoyed running back on the turf having won a course and distance maiden last January. Mr Boursely has his horses in very good form and I am very grateful for these chances to ride them.”      The opening 1600m maiden, restricted to those horses foaled locally, provided the perfect opportunity for O’Shea to move level with Hills on 503 local winners and he was probably never headed aboard AF Al Moreeb.

A 4-year-old colt, he is a homebred by Khalid Khalifa Al Naboda, who retains the services of O’Shea and like the vast majority of his string, trained by Ernst Oertel. Third, then fourth, on his first two career outings over 1400m here at Abu Dhabi, he then disappointed on the dirt surface at Al Ain, but bounced back to form in gutsy fashion, fending off the persistent challenge of Al Shaheenya throughout the final 300m.

O’Shea said: “This horse has taken a while to learn what is required and for whatever reason, he did not take too well to Al Ain and the dirt the last day, but was much happier back here on the turf.

“His two Abu Dhabi runs were good ones before that and he has bounced back to that level of performance. Now he has a win to his name, hopefully it will do his confidence the power of good.”

Owner and trainer wasted no time completing a rapid double with AF Makerah in the following 1600m handicap with Adrie de Vries the man in the saddle on this occasion. Attempting a carbon copy of the first race, O’Shea went straight to the front on AF Alnwha, but De Vries was always travelling strongly in his slipstream, driving his mount to the front with about 300m remaining and they were always holding the numerous challengers giving fruitless chase.

Nabooda said: “As I keep saying, I have a great trainer in Ernst Oertel who keeps producing the goods and we can use the best jockeys which gives us a big chance all the time.

“We are making a concerted effort to promote the local Purebred Arabians and have enjoyed some great results in recent seasons, so long may it continues.”

De Vries added: “You always know when riding for these connections you have some kind of chance and that has proved the case again.”     

O’Shea was then denied a double, Oertel and Al Nabooda a treble, when their AF Kafu was collared 250m from home in a 2200m handicap by Hazeme and although he tried gallantly to fight back, he could not regain the initiative.

“Settled in midfield by Mullen, the pair made smooth progress leaving the back straight before producing their decisive challenge in the final 175m.

“Previously a maiden after 14 starts, but just three in the UAE, the 6-year-old is trained by Jean de Roualle for Yas Horse Racing Management and was ridden by Richard Mullen, partnering winner number 459 locally, taking him one clear of Willie Supple in the overall list and into a clear third.