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Magnificent Meydan Racecourse opens UAE horse racing season for first time in history

Magnificent Meydan Racecourse opens UAE horse racing season for first time in history
Seven-time UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O'Shea is eyeing an eighth. - KT file

Dubai - Six races on the card on Thursday as Champion Jockey Tadhg O'Shea booked for all six rides



By James Jose

Published: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 9:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 11:56 PM

The 29th season of UAE horse racing is upon us and the magnificent Meydan Racecourse will host the opening meeting, for the first time in history.
The historic Jebel Ali Racecourse has usually been the traditional hosts of the first race meeting of the season, but the sprawling Meydan gets the pride of place this time.
Following 193 days after Meydan brought the curtains down on an extended previous season on April 12, the opener, on Thursday night, sees six races on the card.
Thoroughbreds, Purebred Arabians and horsemen will be looking to get a head start across the 67 race meetings at the various Racecourses - Meydan, Jebel Ali Racecourse, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Al Ain Racecourse and Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club.
And record-breaking jockey Tadhg O'Shea will be eyeing an unprecedented eighth UAE Jockey Championship title.
The 37-year-old Irishman had a stellar season last term, winning his seventh title to equal Ted Durcan apart from becoming the most successful jockey of all-time in the UAE, by surpassing Richard Hills' mark of 504 wins.
O'Shea, who had 48 wins, 32 second places and 40 third-place finishes in 336 runs, has joined the Jebel Ali Stables this season.
Thursday's meeting is only for thoroughbreds and O'Shea has been booked for all six rides. And his first race will be for his new employers as he pilots Laa Baas in the Emirates Holidays Thoroughbred Maiden.
The race was won last year by the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate's Ahmad bin Harmash-trained Walking Thunder and the same connections have Mambo Mischief.
Meanwhile, O'Shea also rides Midlander in the Emirates SkyCargo Handicap, Blue Sovereign in the Arabian Adventures Maiden, Top Clearance in the emirates.com Handicap, Giant Hero in the Emirates Airline Handicap and Litigation in the Emiraets Skywards Handicap.
"He seems in great form at home and we are very happy with him," O'Shea said of Top Clearance.
"He is, basically, as fit as we can get him without a race, so we are hoping he can run well in what looks a strong handicap."
Meanwhile, O'Shea said that the one that he is looking forward to riding in Giant Hero.
"He has plenty of pace this horse and has been working well, but he is only three and inexperienced taking on some older seasoned handicappers which is never easy. The race should tell us a lot about him and how to plan the rest of his campaign but he is one I am looking forward to riding," felt O'Shea.
james@khaleejtimes.com
 

AT A GLANCE...

1. Emirates Holidays, TB-Maiden, 1200M (a6F), Dirt, Dh 165,000, 6.30 p.m
2. Emirates SkyCargo, TB-Handicap, 1200M (a6F), Dirt, Dh 170,000, 7.05 p.m
3. Arabian Adventures, TB-Maiden, 1900M (a9.5F), Dirt, Dh 165,000, 7.40 p.m
4. emirates.com, TB-Handicap, 2000M (a10F), Dirt, Dh 185,000, 8.15 p.m
5. Emirates Airline, TB-Handicap, 1600M (a8F), Dirt, Dh 185,000, 8.50 p.m
6. Emirates Skywards, TB-Handicap, 2000M (a10F), Dirt, Dh 165,000, 9.25 p.m


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