H.H. Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival
HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival unveils 2012 US races at UAE Embassy in Washington DC
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival announced a 7-race calendar of events for 2012 to be held in the USA starting with two races in Houston on March 3.
At an impressive press conference held at the UAE Embassy premises in Washington DC on Monday, February 27, an addition to the newly-introduced HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards to be held on March 4 in Houston was also announced.
His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America, Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards and Head,Ladies Racing in IFAHR, Kinsman Wright – Darley Awards Chairman, Kathy Smoke - President of the Arabian Jockey Club, USA, Sharon Clark who manages HH Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Purebred Arabian horses in the US, Stephen Bowey of Invest AD and lady jockeys Shathra Al Hajaj (UAE) and Fatma Al Manji (Oman) attended the press conference.
“Today marks the occasion of another milestone in the important and growing relationship between the United Arab Emirates and United States,” HE Al Otaiba said.
“In that regard, it is very fitting that we are here this afternoon to celebrate a new phase of Arabian horse racing in the US: the announcement of the US leg of the 2012 Sheikh Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival; and to also celebrate a new series of awards under the sponsorship of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak,” he said.
“The upcoming races in the US, sponsored by the UAE, are a milestone in the growth of Arabian horse racing. These races, along with the Darley Awards, will also celebrate the accomplishments of female athletes.”
“I congratulate the UAE delegation, the Arabian Jockey Club USA and The Darley Awards for working together on these important events,” HE Al Otaiba said.
UAE jockey Shathra Al Hajjaj read out the message by H.E Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director of the General Women’s Union and Chairperson of the UAE Women’s Sports Committee.
“Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation and President of Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood has drawn huge attention to female sports,” Al Suwaidi said.
“These races are held for the encouragement by Her Highness of the UAE lady riders in particular and the Gulf lady riders in general to show interest in the sport of our parents and grandparents,” she said.
Ms Lara Sawaya said, “Today, we are here to announce the start of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s racing for the year 2012 in the US, which kicks off with two races at the Sam Houston Park race course on March 3.”
“We will be staging seven races in the US under the umbrella of the Festival in 2012 as follows:
March 3: Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup in Houston
March 3: HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup in Houston
June 23: Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup in Houston, Pleasanton, CA
(Marks 100 years of racing at this historic race course)
August 4: Wathba Stud Farm Cup in Santa Rosa, CA
August 18: Wathba Stud Farm Cup in Ferndale, CA
September 29: Wathba Stud Farm Cup in Stockton, CA
October 6: Wathba Stud Farm Cup in Fresno, CA.
“The second important announcement is that we have increased the newly-introduced HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards to six categories. Initially it was five awards for ladies - Best owner, breeder, trainer, jockey and Lifetime Award – and now we have included a ‘Best Mare’ to that list,” Ms Sawaya said.
“The 2012 HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival Darley Awards and The HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Award will take place on Sunday, March 4 in Houston. We are looking forward to some exciting times with the Festival’s activities here in the US and once again I have to thank H.E The Ambassador and his entire team,” she said.
Kinsman Wright – Darley Awards Chairman said “Purebred Arabian racing can bring everybody together. The Darley Awards is in its 25th year and we welcome the support of the UAE and look forward to many years ahead together.”
Kathy Smoke - President of the Arabian Jockey Club, USA said, “We could never believe what the Festival has achieved in such a short span of time. The HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival has brought together the Purebred Arabian horse owners, breeders and officials together all over the globe. It is a global festival.”
Stephen Bowey of Invest AD said, “This is the fourth year and it has been a great honour to be part of HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival’s long-term vision to promote Purebred Arabian racing. It is a special vision and is reflected with the growing addition of events and races, particularly at the grass-roots level. As a sponsor it is very encouraging to see how the various initiatives of this festival are creating a groundswell of support for the Arabian horse.”
The H.H Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Arabian Horse Society and IFAHR, supported by General Authority for Youth and Sports and Fegentri with Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Mauzan, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, the UAE's General Women's Union, the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2012, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.