O`Shea Treble Highlights First Sharjah Meeting of the Season

Kifaah wins under Tadhg O`Shea
Photo: Erika Rasmussen

Tadhg O’Shea may have relinquished his Champion Jockey’s crown, to Richard Mullen, last season but is clearly set on regaining the accolade and doubled his tally for the season with a treble at Sharjah on Saturday afternoon.

The Irishman started the afternoon in the best possible way, steering Eswarah to victory in the opening 1200m maiden and, in doing so, providing trainer Eric Lemartinel with his first winner as master of Al Asayl Stables.

O’Shea was able to muster a telling challenge from his mount in the final 200m to the delight of Lemartinel, saddling his first Purebred Arabian runner in his new post.

“The first winner is always important in a new job,” said the Frenchman. “We were pretty hopeful as she showed plenty of promise in her two starts last season.”

O’Shea was also in the winner’s enclosure after the sole Thoroughbred contest, a 1200m handicap, partnering the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Kifaah who made virtually all to win comfortably.

It was a first local victory for the horse, homebred by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at the seventh attempt, and a third career win having won twice when trained in France.

Thirty minutes later, O’Shea and Al Raihe were back in the winner’s enclosure after AF Maqayes proved far too quick for 15 rivals in a 1000m maiden, making a winning debut in the process.
He may not have been the quickest from the stalls but was soon in front and never saw another rival.

“It has been a great afternoon and a wonderful start to the season,” said a delighted O’Shea. “I am very lucky to ride for some owners and trainers who have really nice horses.

“Obviously Al Asayl have some of the best Purebred Arabians in the UAE and it is a real privilege to ride for the Al Nahyan Family. It was perfect to get a winner on the board early for Eric as well.

“And then I am lucky to riding for Grandstand Stables where Ali has a great team behind him and some nice horses to look forward to.

“All three of mine have won well and can hopefully build on what they achieved today.”

Ribaah initiated a double for Sheikh Hamdan, completed in the official feature, a 2000m handicap, by The Secret, ridden by the owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill and trained by Doug Watson.

With 200m to run, Watson’s second runner, Kokomo and Pat Dobbs were in front with only her stable companion in close proximity. As the line approached Kokomo appeared to be holding on, only for O’Neill’s mount to hit the line with his head down and a nostril in front of his stablemate.

“I was pleasantly surprised when the result was announced,” said O’Neill. “I thought I was beaten but he had his head down when it mattered.”

Watson added: “We thought both had a big chance and so it proved. Kokomo was really game but just denied after a very brave effort.
“The Secret works like a good horse and hopefully this will have done his confidence a power of good. It is a good result for the yard anyway.”

The horses sent to Sharjah by Irfan Ellahi always merit a second glance and so it proved again with the trainer supplying the other two winners on the card.

Firstly Gerald Avranche landed a second 1200m maiden on JAP Naim before Xavier Ziani and JAP Rahaal scored in the concluding 1700m maiden, denying O’Shea a fourth winner on the afternoon.

He was second on JAP Doonick, a stable companion of the winner.