TADHG O'Shea, originally from Dromhane in Cork, rode the biggest winner of his long career as a professional jockey when he steered Laurel River to an eight-length victory in the $12 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday.

O'Shea (42) has been based in the United Arab Emirates for over 20 years and has been champion jockey there 11 times but he rarely gets a chance to shine in the biggest races at Meydan, as top international riders descend on Dubai for World Cup night.

However, this year O'Shea was given the opportunity to ride American import Laurel River for local trainer Bhupat Seemar and owner Juddmonte Farms. The partnership won a Group 3 race over a mile at Meydan earlier this month and connections took the brave decision to run the horse in the 10-furlong World Cup today.

From a wide draw, O'Shea sent Laurel River straight to the front and the six-year-old built up a big lead entering the home straight. The opposition was unable to land a blow, with Japanese raider Ushba Tesoro (winner of the race last year) finishing second, beaten over eight lengths.

Saudi Cup winner Senor Buscador was a neck further back in third.

"Never did I think, when in 2001, the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum brought me to this country, that I would be winning this race over 20 years later," O'Shea said. "I am very grateful. To ride any winner on this stage is special. After this horse's final piece of work, I said to Bhupat that I had never gotten a feel like that off a horse before. Hats off to Juddmonte Farms - they could have had any jockey in the world but they kept the faith with me."

The winning trainer said: “I would like to thank Juddmonte and His Royal Highness for sending me the horse. I was worried that they might be going too fast but Tadhg got the right fractions and also a breather into him.

“It’s the greatest feeling to have won this race, but what he was doing in the mornings made me think, ‘what has this horse got?’

“There is so much stamina in his pedigree but his training was out of this world.”

O’Shea added: “I tell you one thing, I have never ridden one as good as him. I never dreamed I would win the Dubai World Cup, it really is the stuff of dreams.

“He behaved like a pony; he hit the gates and did everything from the front, it was unbelievable. He gave himself every chance to get the distance, it’s an amazing feeling.”

O'Shea had earlier won the Dubai Golden Shaheen over six furlongs on Tuz, also trained by Bhupat Seemar.

There was also an Irish-trained winner on the card in the shape of the Aidan O'Brien-trained Tower Of London, who won the two-mile Dubai Gold Cup comfortably. However, his stable companion Augustin Rodin finished last in the Sheema Classic behind the Godolphin-owned Rebel's Romance.