From the serene locales of Country Cork comes one of the best jockeys in the world today. At the young age of 19, he was awarded the champion apprentice. Since then it was apparent to anyone who saw him that he will be a prominent name someday. In 2008 O’Shea was hired by Sheikh Hamdan to work as an understudy at his farm.
However, things took a huge turn for the good in 2013 when he was called by Ernst Oertel to ride Al Asayl, post a good season he was hired as the main rider for Khalifa Al Nabooda. Since then there has been no looking back for the charming 37 years old. Although now a crowd favourite around the world, Dubai remains his favourite spot to race on. In this issue, he speaks to us about his love for the city and the Dubai World Cup.
O’Sheaspeaks to Ten Furlongs about the current DWC Carnival and the upcoming DubaiWorld Cup night:
Q: You have been coming to Meydan for a long time now. Which was your first year and which was your most exciting Dubai World Cup since then?
A: I’ve been coming to Dubai riding since 2001.
Q: Which horses are looking forward to riding this season and why?
A: I look forward to the Carnival every year and it’s nice to ride some very good horses.
Q: What excites you about the Dubai World Cup?
A: The Dubai World Cup is an iconic meeting where the world’s best trainers, jockeys& horses come to compete in the fantastic stadium which is Meydan.
Q: Which race would you consider your most difficult race this season and which race would you consider the most hard-won title of your career and why do you say so?
A: 4 The carnival has always been very competitive to win so to win on George Villiers gave me a great kick, All of my seven jockey championships have been hard-fought victories and I’ve had some great battles with my great friend and arch-rival Richard Mullen.
"All of my seven jockey championships have been hard-fought victories and I’ve had some great battles with my great friend and arch-rival Richard Mullen."
Q: Which countries have you raced in thus far and what are your aspirations for this decade?
A: I’ve raced in Ireland, UK, France, Poland, China, Singapore, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Tunisia, Holland, Italy, Germany and of course Dubai (UAE).
Q: What did you think of Yulong Warrior and Majestic Thunder?
A: Any horse that wins for me becomes a friend for life,
Q: How did you get involved with horses? Can you please tell us a bit more about your parents and your family?
A: My family have no racing background, so I went to the apprentice school at the age of 15 and then I joined Michael Halford stable where I was lucky enough to be champion apprentice twice and in doing so won an all-expense trip to Dubaikindly sponsored by H.H. Shiekh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2001 and I’ve come back ever since, Dubai has played a huge role in the lives of myself and wife Debbie & our two sons Daragh & Aaron.