Irish jockey Tadhg O’Shea forms new partnership in UAE

Tadhg O’Shea and AF Maher after winning the Group 1 $1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup day. Credit: Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood.

Seven-time UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea has joined a new team with the commencement of the new season at Meydan Racecourse.

The Irish jockey will start his 2019-20 tenure wearing the predominately yellow silks of Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and receiving a leg-up from the master of Jebel Ali Stables, trainer Nicholas Bachalard.

“A lot of illustrious names have ridden in those silks and I feel privileged to have been approached by Nicholas Bachalard and (racing manager) Mohammed Al Shahi and be offered the position,” O’Shea said.

“It’s a new yard and new season for me, my weight is good and I feel great. I’ve been very lucky to ride for some tremendous owners and trainers and I approach it without any goals, really. First and foremost, I want to stay in one piece and then I’d like to ride in as many races as I can.”

In addition to his contracted job with Jebel Ali, he will maintain his fruitful relationship with 2018-19 champion owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, whose Purebred Arabian operation ended the season with 53 wins – 19 more than second-placed Godolphin.

O’Shea won 48 races and earned nearly $2 million in prize money last season, topped by a brilliant ride on Al Nabooda’s AF Maher in the Group 1 $1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup day.

The father of two, the most successful UAE jockey of all time, said of the new season:

“It’s back to zero with a new season starting. I’m riding for two very powerful men in Sheikh Ahmed and Khalid and I just want to do them justice and justify their faith in employing me to ride their horses. I cannot thank them enough for their confidence and loyalty.”

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