Tadhg O'Shea Q+A
A Little Bit About Tadhg:
Born in Dromahane, County Cork in 1982, Tadhg O'Shea has taken the UAE racing world by storm, riding 500+ winners in the United Arab Emirates and was UAE Champion jockey in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018 and secured his 7th title this year after fending off a tough battle from his UAE racing colleagues, a season in which saw him capture 48 wins, 32 2nd places, and 40 3rd place finishes. He has only bettered this winning tally once and that was in 2017, however, this year Tadhg has won nearly 600,000 more in prize money than he has in the last 5 years, finishing the season with an astounding 7,112,468.
He also joined and surpassed Richard Hills as the most successful jockey of all time in the UAE, Tadhg has spoken in interviews about this, he said in one - “It was fantastic to equal the record and I hope that I can win and surpass that on another day,” said O’Shea who first arrived in the UAE as an apprentice in 2001, "I didn’t think when I came here for the first time that I’ll be lucky and privileged to ride as many winners. I have lot of people to thank - too many to mention - but they all know who they are, lots of trainers and owners. It has been a very lucky place for me and my family. The main thing was to stay healthy, and hopefully, I will have few more winners by the end of the season.” He did go on to ride 9 more winners that season.
Questions & Answers:
Q1. What made you decide on a career as a jockey?
I didn’t grow enough to become a bouncer, joking apart I never imagined I would be a jockey until a career guidance teacher in school knew I hated being indoors and with my size and frame suggested I sign up to R.A.C.E in Kildare and that’s where it started.
Q2. If you were not a jockey what career do you think you would have gone into?
That’s a tricky one but it would have been outdoors and with animals.
Q3. What would you consider to be your greatest achievement in racing?
Riding my first winner on Class society in Tipperary on the 09/09/1999 as I had plenty of Doubters because of my non horsey background
Q4. Who are the biggest influences in your career?
Definitely my parents who still follow & support my every move and obviously Michael Halford who had the patience and determination to get me going, obviously my Wife Debbie has also been there from the beginning
Q5. What made you decide to go and ride in Dubai?
I was lucky HH SHAIK HAMDAN BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM sponsored an all-expense paid 3-month working holiday for the Irish champion apprentice in 2001 and thankfully that was me
Q6. What newcomer are you looking forward to riding most next season?
We ran nearly everything this season so I will have to wait till October to tell you when the new ones are ready
Q7. When you retire as a jockey will it be pipe and slippers or will training become a goal?
It definitely won’t be pipe and slippers, wouldn’t mind being a Jockey’s agent as I am my own agent at present and have been for many years.
Q8. Outside of racing what is your favourite pastime?
I breed a few so enjoy watching there development.
Q9. If you could invite 3 people to a dinner party past or present who would they be?
Mohammed Ali, Donald Trump, and Michael Collins.
Q10. Who are your favourite sports persons?
Ronnie O'Sullivan & Roger Federer, both class acts.
Q11. What is your favourite TV Show?
ITV on a Saturday
Q12. Do you read and if so what is your favourite book and who is your favourite Author?
No, not really the missus bought me Roy Keane autobiography and I’ve still to finish it
Q13. What mainstream comedian makes you laugh the most
I like Brendan O'Carroll Mrs. Brown's Boys
Q.14. Whom would you consider to be your best friend in racing?
Richy Mullen we have sat beside each other for the last 15 years at all tracks in Dubai, we are fierce rivals on track but great friends off it, both our families have grown up together in Dubai
Q15. As the Champion Jockey in Dubai do you get recognised when out and about?
I suppose you do in most places as Dubai people and Expats living there really enjoy there racing and it has a great following.
Q16. Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Dubai does spoil you really with its weather and hospitality but we had a fantastic family holiday in Madeira also and will definitely get back there at some stage but if the weather is good there is no better than the Emerald Isle.
Q17. Do you miss Ireland and how often do you get to go back to see family and friends?
I obviously miss home and have not spent a Christmas in Ireland for 17 years but I’m very fortunate on the other hand that I have a great job in Dubai, I try to get too Cork as much as possible in the summer to see my immediate family as I’m living in Wexford throughout most of the summer with Debbie and our 2 boys.
Q18. Do you like a drink and if so what is your favourite tipple?
I absolutely love a nice glass of Red with a steak as beers go I suppose Heineken abroad and obviously you need a Guinness or 2 on home soil
Yes there is loads to achieve I would love another World Cup night winner!
20. Will we ever see you riding back in the UK?
Occasionally yes but obviously it’s a tough game with a lot of Jockey’s that work hard so rides are very limited everywhere especially when someone like me is abroad for 8 months of the year but hopefully I’ll pop up a few times throughout the summer.
TCP would like to thank Tadhg for his participation in this months Q+A and wish him continued success this season