Pat Cosgrave leaves UK for new career in Saudi Arabia

By Sports Desk July 26, 2023

Pat Cosgrave has left the UK to embark on a new challenge and will now call Saudi Arabia home as he continues his riding career oversees.

The 41-year-old, who was champion apprentice in Ireland in 2003, has won  Group One contests in Germany, Australia and the UK and has ridden over 100 winners for trainers Jim Boyle, William Haggas and George Baker in his career.

He is also no stranger to success further afield and liked up with Saeed bin Suroor to win the UAE 1000 Guineas in 2020 and was also aboard the Godolphin handler’s Gifts Of Gold on Saudi Cup Night in 2021 when the duo landed the valuable Red Sea Turf Handicap.

Cosgrave has now been handed the chance to become retained rider for 2022 Saudi Cup-winning owner Prince Saud Bin Salman Abdulaziz’s, an opportunity he has jumped at.

He said: “I’d only been back from Dubai (back in March) for a couple of weeks and was approached by Prince Saud Bin Salman Abdulaziz’s team about the opportunity.

“I knew how successful their operation was over there, particularly given they won the Saudi Cup back in 2022 with Emblem Road, but it was a tricky time to make a decision as racing was just getting going again in the UK.

“I thought about it for a little while and decided it was a good thing to do. The racing, as well as other sports in Saudi, seem to be getting bigger and better every year and it’s an exciting time to be getting involved.”

Cosgrave hit the headlines earlier in the year when he received a 28-day ban for easing up on 1-6 favourite Concorde in the final stages of a mile handicap at Chelmsford.

He added: “I have been going along OK in the UK. There were a couple of silly incidents that put me on the sidelines for a bit, but overall I was doing well, winning some decent handicaps and operating at a good strike rate.

“I was riding winners for the likes of George Boughey, Richard Hughes, George Baker and Jim Boyle, so things were going OK, and they were looking after me well, but it feels like the racing in Saudi is really progressing and I think it’s a great opportunity to take.”

Cosgrave is not the only member of the weighing room on the move, with Andrea Atzeni having been granted a part-season licence by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Atzeni’s licence in the far east runs from July 17 until February 12 next year and he is expected to be in Hong Kong for the start of the new season at Sha Tin on September 10.

The Classic winning rider said on his twitter account: “Looking forward to my new challenge!”

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