Top Irish jockey Tadhg O’Shea paid tribute to the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, former Deputy Ruler of Dubai, for giving him the career-changing breakthrough after he won the $12 million Dubai World Cup ((G1) on Saturday evening.

When he won the Irish apprentice championship in 1998 as a promising 19-year-old jockey, O’Shea was gifted a unique all-expenses-paid scholarship to ride in the UAE.

The rest, as they say, is history.

O’Shea would go on to win 11 jockey’s Championships and cement his place in the history books.

On Saturday, he added another memorable chapter to his incredible story, when he partnered with Laurel River to win the Dubai World Cup by eight lengths, the widest margin in the 29-year history of the race.

“It was Sheikh Hamdan who gave me the opening when I was a youngster chasing my dreams,” O’Shea, 42, and an established rider with the championship-winning Zabeel Stables.

“All that I have accomplished over the years would not have been possible without Sheikh Hamdan’s support. I was also offered to his No 2 stable jockey alongside Richard Hills.

“Winning the Dubai World Cup is without doubt the pinnacle of my career, something that I waited over 20 years to achieve,” he added. “I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to ride great horses in the UAE, which has been my home away from home for so many wonderful years.”

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