Stage set for the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Championship in Australia
Abu Dhabi – UAE upcoming lady jockey Anoud Al Suwaidi will partner Coolinda Park Dance With Me in the second round of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday, February 1.
“I must have benefited from my first attempt at the Flaij Racecourse in Muscat last weekend and I’m now ready for the Australian challenge,” the young UAE lady said during the Draw Ceremony at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel on Monday January 27.
The draw ceremony was attended by Pablo Kang, the Australian Ambassador to the UAE and Qatar, Adnan Sultan, director of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Lara Saway, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) and Manar Al Hanai, representing Invest AD.
“Obviously, it’s a great initiative by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to launch this prestigious event to promote the Arabian horse around the globe,” the Australian ambassador noted.
“There’s a long history of strong bilateral relations between our country and the UAE right from the agriculture up to the sports and defence cooperation.
“Arabian races are not very popular in Australia as the Thoroughbreds industry is dominating the scene, but with the bright vision of HH Sheikh Mansoor, this noble creature will receive the deserved attention of horse breeders, owners, racegoers and of course the organisers,” he said.
“We have huge investments by Godolphin and Shadwell, a few to mention, besides the sponsorship of the Emirates Airline of Melbourne Cup and other sports activities during the Spring Racing Carnival. Rugby, Cricket and tennis are among the international tournaments which attract the attention of the public. Football and cricket teams from the UAE and Australia exchange visits. Australia will host the 2015 AFC Asian Cup to which the UAE has already qualified. We have also few Australian players who are engaged with their UAE clubs in the Arabian Gulf League besides the horse racing commentator Terry Spargo who is also Australian,” he said.
Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) said: “We are delighted to return to Australia after one year break due to reasons beyond our control. This time the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship will be staged at Caulfield Racetrack, one of the top venues within Australia and the rest of the world. The Arabian horse will be in action on one of the major racing days in Down Under as it’s the practice of the festival.”
“This time eight ladies will lineup at Caulfield racecourse, including two professionals from Korea and Australia. According to the new rules, every race will involve not less than eight contenders; two of them should be professionals. The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup caries Euro35.000 in prize-money and Euro30.000 for the HH Sheikha Fatima Championship. The festival has provided Euro40.000 for the top five jockey clubs which collect more points, to be used for supporting the professional lady jockeys, over and above the Euro30.000 which goes for the amateur lady jockeys,” she added.
Regarding the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Awards, Sawaya said all details would be revealed in a special news conference during the month of March.
“The event will be staged at the Dolby Theatre, the home of the Oscar, at Hollywood and Highlight centre.
“We have increased the categories to 11 instead of six which will match the Oscar in numbers only and outclass it otherwise. There will be 3000 guests from the US and other parts of the world plus 14 judges half of them are involved in Arabian racing and the others are knowledgeable,” she said.
Sawaya also introduced the 13-year-old Irish photographer Shamela Hanley who will be associated with the festival to grow up with it.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with Arabtec Holding PJSC as the Official Partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Al Rashid Investment, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE's General Women's Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2014, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Abu Dhabi Sports Channel and Racing Post.
Ladies Championship Draw
Gate 1: Hana Jurankova (Australia) on El Masri Jadeed
2: Alison Deniel (Great Britain) on Conderosa Millenium Silva
3: Fatma Al Manji (Oman) on Warrawee Naazia
4: Michelle Payne (Australia) on Keisha
5: Anoud Al Suwaidi (UAE) on Coolinda Park Dance With Me
6: Blanche de Granvilliers (France) on Aqaba Pride of Erin
7: Lee A-na (Korea) on Raazoor Dajani
8: Lena Maria Mattes (Germany) Blakes Heaven Bombora
Source: HH SH Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival
Photo: Morhaf Al Assaf