'The Apprentice' Kirrane continues his evolution in the UAE

The Apprentice Kirrane continues his evolution in the UAE
BIG STEPS: Irish apprentice jockey Sean Kirrane pilots Speedy Move to victory at the Meydan Racecourse. - Photo by Neeraj Murali

Dubai - Young Irish jockey has ridden out five winners so far

By James Jose

Published: Sat 8 Feb 2020, 8:30 PM

Last updated: Sat 8 Feb 2020, 10:35 PM

Sean Kirrane's love for horses has seen him travel across continents and the young Irishman is hoping that the lessons learnt in the UAE will hold him good stead when he makes the jump from an apprentice jockey to a pro.
After starting off in his native, the Dubliner made the trip across the pond to England to apprentice with Richard Spencer. And after about 200 rides, the next big step in Kirrane's fledging career came when UAE Champion Trainer Satish Seemar came calling.
Kirrane couldn't quite believe his stars and was on the next flight out to Dubai. Since arriving in the country last November, the 20-year-old has continued to impress.
He has had five winners so far across four different racecourses - Jebel Ali, Al Ain, Meydan and Abu Dhabi. And Kirrane is thankful to four-time UAE Champion Trainer Seemar for showing the faith in him.
"Seemar offered me an opportunity to come over here in October. And I jumped at it. Seemar has been very good to me. Also, I've had plenty of opportunities from trainers here," Kirrane told the Khaleej Times.
"To get the opportunity to come from England to the UAE, that was big for me because Seemar is renowned for bringing on apprentices and giving them opportunities. You can rattle the names off.Ryan Moore, Hector Crouch, Sean Davis, Harry Bentley. And all those names mentioned have gone on to be good jockeys. "
Kirrane's first ride was in the middle of last November where he was the mount of Seemar's The New Maharaja at Jebel Ali. His first winner duly arrived on Seemar's Au Coeur at Jebel Ali at the end of November. Following a double at Al Ain, Kirrane landed his first win at Meydan, onboard Speedy Move. His latest victory was in Abu Dhabi for trainer Ernst Oertel.
Quite surprisingly, Kirrane doesn't come a horse racing background.
"The parents weren't into riding at all. I don't come from, what people call it, a 'horsey background,' really. I started riding ponies when I was about three years old. It is just the love for the animal, really, I'd have to say, to be completely honest with you. Since I was a young lad, I always watched racing. I remember Best Mate winning three Gold Cups. So, I've been a fan of racing for a very long time," he remembered.
Racing in the UAE has meant rubbing shoulders with UAE Champion Jockeys Richard Mullen and Tadhg O'Shea. And Kirrane said that rubbing shoulders with them has helped him.
"I'm very lucky to be in the position I'm in. I ride out with Richie Mullen every morning. And every bit of advice he gives me is invaluable. Tadhg O'Shea comes to us once a week as well. And the advice I get from those two lads over here is phenomenal. They have been of great help," said Kirrane.

Seemar all praise for Kirrane

UAE Champion Trainer Satish Seemar has been known to uncover rough gems and turn them into diamonds. And the Dubai-based Indian handler has perhaps unearthed one more.
Seemar, known to give apprentice jockeys a chance, has punted on Sean Kirrane. And the young Irishman is repaying that faith with some impressive performances on the UAE horse racing scene.
And Seemar had words of praise for the 20-year-old.
"He's a very conscious jockey, he's very serious, he takes his job very seriously. He's young. Lot of times, they have other things on their minds but I find him very professional and a gentleman of a young man. He works well. I think Sean is all settled in and showing his real talent now," felt Seemar.

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