Top quality contenders for world’s richest race for
Purebred Arabian horses
History will be made at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club race course on Sunday, November 8, 2015 when 16 runners burst out of their stalls at 8.45 pm in the world’s richest race for Purebred Arabians in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Euros 1.2 million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Group 1).
The mile’s contest, which will see horses based in the US, Europe and the Middle East region vying for a slice of the Euros 1.2 million, will also bring the curtain down on a fascinating week of the ‘One World, 6 Continents’ event and the 2015 activities of the Festival.
Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) said the whole year’s activities culminating in the world’s richest race for Arabian horses was only possible due to the instructions and vision of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
“Starting with the IFHRA General Assembly and then followed by three days of quality discussions and deliberations in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Training and Education Conference, the nearly 1000-strong guests will now experience a historic evening of racing at the ADEC track on Sunday,” Ms Sawaya said.
“Before the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, we have the two finals of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) and lady jockeys and Apprentice jockeys have been waiting for this day since the year began,” she said.
In the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Group 1), the Dubai Kahayla Classic winner Manark from Erwan Charpy’s yard heads the local challenge which also includes the Eric Lemartinel-trained pair - the undefeated Abhaar and the Dh 3 million President’s Cup winner Abu Alabyad.
Commenting on his chances, Manark’s jockey Dane O’Neill said, “Obviously it is a very strong field but he is a good horse and has been working very nicely in his preparation.”
“Meydan is obviously a different surface and left-handed as opposed to Abu Dhabi which is turf and right-handed but it should not be an issue. We are hoping for a big run,” added O’Neill.
Abhaar under Tadhg O’Shea already has three course and distance victories to his name and will be bidding to win his 6th successive career race in his unbeaten run.
Trainer Nacer Samiri, who saddles his first runners this week-end, is double-handed and Thakif, owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor, looks to have a better chance than Shateh. Thakif had won this race under Harry Bentley ahead of Shateh last year but it is a step up class with quality opposition on Sunday.
Alban de Mieulle’s Kalino under big-race jockey Olivier Peslier heads Qatar’s challenge while Al Mouhannad represents Oman in the Euros 1.2 million race.
The sibling rivalry between Scott and Mark Powell will be renewed when Paddy’s Day and So Big Is Better clash as they carry the American hopes.
The 4-year-old Paddy’s Day has won twice since his defeat behind the 11-year-old So Big Is Better and with 11 wins from his 14 career starts seems to give Scott Powell an edge though Mark’s horse won their last meeting in the US.
Lady jockey Kelsi Purcell, inspired by Michelle Payne’s win in the Melbourne Cup, rides Paddy’s Day
and sounded confident. “I feel confident though the right-handed track here would be one of our biggest challenges. He is still a baby and he has to overcome that too. The distance is no problem. I won by more than 18 lengths over this distance in the past,” said Purcell, the only female jockey in the 16-horse field.
Mark Powell said, “This is such a great opportunity and I am confident So Big Is Better has it in him to run a good race. He has taken the trip very well and is in great form.”
The European challenge includes Sahabba, trained in France by Jean-Marc De Watrigant and Athlete Del Sol, trained by Karin van den Bos.
Thirteen lady jockeys will be bidding to crown themselves world champion in the HH Sheikh Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies’ (IFAHR) World Championship and so will 12 Apprentice jockeys in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice (IFAHR) World Championship races.
The race meeting starts with the Martyrs Cup followed by the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners and the Martyrs Trophy for Thoroughbreds with the first race going to post at 5.00 pm. Sunday’s meeting also kick-starts Abu Dhabi’s 2015-16 flat racing season.
“The Martyrs Cup and the Martyrs Trophy are being held in honour of the brave UAE troops who laid down their lives in Yemen,” Ms Sawaya said.
The six-race meeting will then sign off with an impressive closing ceremony marking the end of the 2015 activities of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE's General Women's Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels, Racing Post and Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics.
Source: HH SH Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival / Satya Narayan
Photo: Morhaf Al Assaf