8 November 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s ‘One World, 6 Continents, Abu Dhabi The Capital’ extravaganza got off to a smooth start with an open draw at the National Archives on Tuesday for the €1.2 million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Crown Jewel-IPIC (Group 1) – the richest race in the world for Purebred Arabian horses which will be held on 13 November 2016.
Even as the connections of the runners picked their starting stalls, the lady jockeys and the Apprentice jockeys also got to know which horses each one of them will be riding in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship final and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship final respectively.
The post position draw by dignitaries, officials, and guests for the 1600-metre €1.2 million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Crown Jewel-IPIC (Group 1), gave Al Mourtajez under Julien Auge stall 5, the popular wisdom’s horse to beat in the 16-horse field.
“The horse is good and we are very happy to be here. It is a big race and will be enjoyed by everyone. We are happy as gate 5 is an ideal one to start,” said Al Mourtajez trainer Thomas Fourcy.
Terri Eaton, whose American raider Sand Victor drew lane 4 said, “Sand Victor is wonderful and ready to go. No. 4 is a very good draw, I’m going to try to take the trophy to America!’
IFAHR Chief Oficer, Sami Jassim Al Boenain, who drew Kalino’s stall (4) for the winner last year, once again drew Kalino, but this time pulled up stall 11 for the horse’s connections.
AF Mathmoon’s trainer Musabbah Al Muhairi was confident and said his draw of stall 10 did not matter. “We won the Dubai Kahayla Classic from stall 14 so that is not an issue,” the Emirati trainer said.
Sheikh Zayed Cup US Triple Crown winner Paddys Day, 5th in last Sunday’s prep race, drew stall 15 and his trainer Scott Powell said, “Last year he drew the same stall; I am hoping for a better result on Sunday.”
HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship
Meanwhile in the impressive HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship draw ceremony, the 2015 winner – Switzerland’s Astrid Wullschleger- was drawn to ride the Eric Lemartinel-trainer RB Burning Ash.
The draw for the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak (IFHRA) Apprentice Jockey Championship (final) was also held and a 13-strong field will vie for the Apprentice world title.
Many VIPs attended the draw including HE Saeed Ali Al Nowais, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, IFAHR Chief Sami Jassim Al Boenain, Dr. Abdulla El Reyes, Director General of the National Archives, Ahmed Al Qubaisi- Abu Dhabi Sports Council Ahmed Saeed, Department of Justice – Sports Court (CAS), Nadeem Lahad representing Emirates airlines, Khaled Hussain, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare, Mussalam Al Amri, Pat Buckley, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and other representatives of sponsors.
Ms. Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) conducted the draw with the help of the ERA officials.
HE Al Nowais hailed the support of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the UAE, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Mother of the World in promoting Arabian racing.
“This is not only the richest race for Arabian horses but the field for the 13 November races is also one of the strongest,” Ms Sawaya said. “Around 800 guests and over a hundred journalists have arrived in Abu Dhabi for the event,” Ms Sawaya added.
All the trophies presented as part of the draw for the final races were deeply integrated with the UAE heritage and culture and the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup is designed by Essa Al Qubaisi, an emirate artiste who said she was deeply honored to be part of the Festival.
For full details of the three main races of 13 November:
Link to Apprentice race details: http://www.emiratesracing.com/node/3?id=2801#tab-10440
Link to Ladies race details: http://www.emiratesracing.com/node/3?id=2801#tab-10443
Link to Sheikh Zayed Cup: http://www.emiratesracing.com/node/3?id=2801#tab-10442