190310 jockey
Jockey Tadgh O’Shea Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Jebel Ali Racecourse will host its penultimate meeting of the 2019/2020 UAE racing season which promises to have a hug impact on the race for the domestic championships.

The eight races framed for the afternoon at the popular Friday course are well-filled and feature all the leading jockeys, trainers and owners who have contributed immensely to making this another memorable year.

The race for the jockey’s title looks particularly thrilling with Tadhg O’Shea, Richard Mullen and Antonio Fresu within striking distance of each other.

Defending champion O’Shea, who although retained by Jebel Ali Stables, has been one of the busiest and most prolific freelance riders in the UAE with 36 winners and prize money earned in excess of Dh7 million.

Dubai resident and former champion Richard Mullen is in hot pursuit with 32 wins and as many as 35 second places with Antonio Fresu enjoying his best-ever season in the UAE.

Close to 100 jockeys have been seen in action since the season began in October but O’Shea, Mullen and Fresu have stood head and shoulders above their peers booting home winner after winner.

All there have a good book of rides at Jebel Ali and are guaranteed to bring their A Game to the track in a bid to strengthen their bid for the title.

Trainer Satish Seemar
Satish Seemar

Although veteran Dubai handler Satish Seemar has a sizeable advantage over his rivals, Doug Watson and Ernst Oertel, with 38 winners giving him an eight-point advantage, there is still plenty of racing to come at Meydan, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Watson is on the 30 winner mark with Oertel, who essentially races Purebred Arabians, on 26 wins for the season.

The prestigious Owner’s title looks to be shaping into a three-way contest between in-form breeders Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodh, the Godolphin stables and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

Al Naboodha’s Arabian stud farm has yielded 30 winners and Dh2.3 million in prize money while Godolphin have been the most lucrative owner in earnings of close to Dh14 million.

Shaikh Hamdan’s famous blue and white silks have been carried to victory in 25 races for prize money around Dh7 million.

Commenting on Friday’s race meeting Shareef Al Halawani, Director of Jebel Ali Racecourse said: “We are very excited about this weekend’s racing thanks to the high number of horses that will be in action.

“Jebel Ali Racecourse has always been popular with the trainers and jockeys and with the end of the season round the corner, we can expect a lot of hot competition in the race for the championships.

“With eight well-filled races this weekend’s meeting has the potential to produce some very competitive racing, which is sure to entertain our regular fans and friends,” he added.

“We would like to extend our thanks to our Pillar Partners, like His Highness Shaikh Hamdan and his Derrinstown Stud for sponsoring and promoting our races, week after week, year after year.

“I would also like to thank Emirates NBD, Al Sahel Contracting, Al Safar Investment, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Ascana and Dubai Real Estate Centre.”