Seemar caps 'dream season' with second UAE Trainer's Championship

O'Shea blinder at Abu Dhabi puts paid to long-time leader Costa’s title hopes

by

Leslie Wilson Jr

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Fall Of Rome (centre) wins the Mussafah Bridge handicap. —  Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club
Fall Of Rome (centre) wins the Mussafah Bridge handicap. — Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club

Published: Thu 4 Apr 2024, 9:23 PM

Less than a week after realising a dream first Dubai World Cup victory, Bhupat Seemar crowned a stellar season by capturing a second UAE Trainer’s Championship at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Thursday evening.

The Zabeel Stables supremo secured the title with the help of his trusted stable jockey and 12-time UAE Champion, Tadhg O’Shea, who rode an absolute blinder aboard the Frankel gelding Fall Of Rome to win the Mussafah Bridge handicap by the shortest of margins.


The incomparable Irish rider was at his supreme best in a three-horse photo finish, stealing victory by a nose from Royston French aboard the Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Benzema, with Bernardo Pinheiro a short-head third with Ironside.

The win moved Seemar to 37 for the season, one better than long-time leader Michael Costa.


Seemar and Costa, who have both delivered dominant seasons for their respective stables, face off for the last time this term at Al Ain’s final race meeting of 2023-2024.

Seemar saddles four runners to Costa’s lone entry, Mookdee. But even if the master of Jebel Ali Stables draws level once again, he will still concede the title as Seemar has scored more second-place finishes.

"It’s been a season that started with serious lows when I found that my biggest owners are dispersing," said Seemar.

"Al Rashid Stables had 26 horses with me and they were the best horses I had. I couldn't sleep at night thinking that my career was over now. Thankful to a lot of owners who stuck by me and believed in me and we bought most of the horses back that we wanted to keep. The rest is history

"I was too easygoing last year. Should have tried harder for the championship. I think I lost by 2 or 3. Would have been nice to do a hat trick."

O’Shea paid tribute to his boss and Zaheel Stables soon after anchoring one of the best races of the season at the Abu Dhabi track.

“From the drop of the flag back in October the horses have never missed a beat and have been in super form,” said O’Shea.

“I’ve said it umpteen times. I have been very fortunate to get a leg up on the majority of the horses at Zabeel. And like I always told Bhupat, the hardest thing is to try to pick the right horses because there are so many good ones.

“It’s been a remarkable year. Last Saturday was an amazing night, it still hasn’t quite sunk,” he said. “When we came here I was thinking if we can get Bhupat over the line now, Obviously, its worthy of the whole team and the amazing season we’ve had.”

O’Shea, who came to the UAE as a 19-year-old in 2001, has gone on to build a legacy for himself by winning the coveted Jockey’s title year after year.

Now, a mature 42, O’Shea always has a lot of positive things to say about the sport that shaped his life and on Thursday encouraged more people to embrace flat racing.

“Syndicates are what the whole racing game is about, about bringing in a new generation, new owners,” he said. “We’re blessed, we’ve got a couple of good syndicates in the stable.

“But what gives us even more joy is seeing them coming to the races and enjoying themselves. That’s what it's all about. More syndicates the better.”

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