HH Sheikha Fatima championship Kicks off HH Sheikh Mansoor festival new season
Muscat - UAE lady jockey Anoud Al Suwaidi partners Scyphios as the 21-year-old debutant launches her claim from stall-8 in the opener of the 2014 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (1600m) at Al Flaij racecourse here on Friday, January 17.
The championship is held as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.
“It’s something great to take the first step in my new career with a dream ride at this beautiful venue,” the UAE engineer said during the draw ceremony at the Holiday Inn Hotel on Wednesday. “I have been training hard under the supervision of two great trainers, Eric Lemartinel and Majid Al Jahouri. I was told that my mount Scyphios is a front runner for the trophy and this is definitely good news and something encouraging to start with,” she said.
Former Sweden lady jockey Anna Sofia who’s looking after Anoud workouts said she will be all right in her first start.
“Anoud is punctual, dedicated and smart young lady and hopefully she will have a great debut,” Sofia said.
“Unfortunately, Anoud will not be able to have exercise ride because the trainer said he would prefer to keep the horse calm before the race and didn’t want to interrupt his preparations with jockeys change,” she added.
But, in all cases, Anoud said she will see the horse in the stables. “I would love to be introduced to each other before the race,” the smiling young lady said.
Meanwhile, a strong field of 12 runners has been declared for the curtains raiser of the world’s richest women horse racing series in which professional and amateur lady jockeys compete on Arabian horses’ backs.
“I have just got my license and let’s wait to find out how things will go before deciding what should happen next,” Anoud added.
But, interestingly, all the 12 horses are very closely handicapped (64-70), and according to the experts the best jockey will win this race since all the horses are said to be of the same form or near to that.
Top German lady jockey Stefanie Hofer launches her claim on board five-year-old Krisschn SWA and will jump from stall-5.
“I hope I could make it a winning start from this lovely place,” said the 27-year-old and the only professional jockey in the field.
Hofer rode 321 winners in her 12 years career from 2817 starts, including the Group-3 triumph on board Smooth Operator.
Azhar Al Wardi represents the host country Oman astride the ten-year-old Mudalal and has been ideally drawn in stall-4. There’s nothing strange for Al Wardi who knows both the track and the horse besides she has already made her mark in the competition.
“I rode seven winners from 59 starts with the International Amateur Race 2012 in Oman being my most important win,” said the 27-year-old Omani IT Database operator who was named the 2012 Best Lady Jockey by the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Darley Award.
AK Hal, one of the favourites will be ridden by the Dutch lady jockey Leonie Vethaak, a winner of one of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak series in California, USA last season.
The race will be streamlined live by Abu Dhabi Sports Channel and can be also watched online at the www.sheikhmansoorfestival.com (live video streaming).
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 and Fegentri 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.
1 – AK Hal (Ahmed bin Abdulla Al Marzouqi) LEONIE VETHAAK (Holland)
2 – Kadur N U (Mohammed bin Salim Al Ghenaimi) MICHALA UCHARIKOVA (UK)
3 – Pipeoile (Ahmed bin Abdulla Al Marzooqi) JHANNAH STOLT (Sweden)
4 – Mudalal (Saeed bin Bati Al Badi) Azhar Al Wardi (Oman)
5 – Krisschn SWA (Jaber bin Said Al Maskari) Stefani Hofer (Germany)
6 – Djalkan (Kahlan bin Mohammed Al Balushi) GABRIELLA VONCZEM (Hungary)
7 – Faria (Ahmed bin Abdulla Al Marzooqi) CAROL-ANN SLOAN (USA)
8 – Scyphios (Said bin Bati Al Badi) Anoud Al Suwaidi (UAE)
9 – Motsho Bello (Humaid bin Sultan Al Marzooqi) MICHALA UCHARIKOVA (Slovakia)
10 – Omayyade Thabet (Ali bin Badr Al Gheseini) Marie Artu (France)
11 – Sami Al Mels (Jaber bin Said Al Maskari) GIADA MENATO (Italy)
12 – Secret Treasuour (Mohammed bin Salim Al Ghenaimi) EVANNA MCCUTCHEON (Ireland)
Source: HH SH Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival
Photo: Morhaf Al Assaf