June 15 Den Haag ~ Some of the world’s top breeders, owners and officials of Purebred Arabian racing horses have arrived in The Hague in The Netherlands for the second edition of the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference which starts tomorrow.
The three-day conference is part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Racing Festival and will be followed by a top class race meeting at the Duindigt race course on June 19.
Addressing the press conference at a packed hall in The Hilton on Wednesday, Lara Sawaya, Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival said the next four days would be a very exciting one for Arabian racing.
“First I would like to thank Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director of the Emirates General Women Association and chairperson of the UAE Women Sport who is present here to support the HH Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup.”
“The staging of the HH Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup is one of the highlights of this week and we have two lady jockeys from the UAE, two fromOman and one from Qatar which is a great achievement for the region,” Ms Sawaya said.
Some of the leading trainers, owners, breeders and officials connected with Arabian racing have already arrived and we are looking forward to a successful second edition of the Arabian Racing Conference,” she said.
“Abu Dhabi TV will be broadcasting live all four days of action while media persons from various parts of the world will be covering the conference and the race meeting,” she said.
Sami Al Bunain, Chairman of the International Federation for Arabian Horses (IFAHR),said, “I have to thank HH Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs for the success of the Arabian Racing Conference.”
“In the beginning, before last year’s conference in Abu Dhabi, I was very stressed over how the event will progress. It looked very complicated but I must say that the vision was there by Shaikh Mansoor and today we are here to celebrate another edition,” he said.
“It is great that so many experts and Arabian racing officials are here and I am confident that this is the only way for us to solve all problems facing Arabian racing,” Al Bunain said.
Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, Vice Chairman of IFAHR said, “Though all those assembled here may be officials it is important to note that they are also horse lovers. All of us here have the same intention and the same focus and that is to develop this field.”
“We must develop Arabian racing in the right direction and we need support in many areas for us to move forward,” the IFAHR official said.
“The world is a global village now and we are not here as officials of the UAE or Qatar but are here for the love of Arabian horses,” Al Adhab said.
WJ de Ruiter, IFAHR Treasurer and also the President of the Dutch Arabian Racing Committee (DARC) who are playing host to the three-day Arabian Racing Conference said, “Twelve months ago there seemed to be no future for Arabian racing but now all that has changed thanks to the initiative of Shaikh Mansour. This is so very true in the case of Northern Europe which has now come alive thanks to all the support.”
“Five years ago we had over 52 races but that had gone down to about ten. The global distribution of prize-money was uneven. But all that is changing. First the initiative of Shaikh Mansoor and now with Qatar also additionally supporting Arabian racing the future looks bright,” de Ruiter said.
“On June 19 we will be staging a race meeting with five races for Arabian horses and this is perhaps the first time such a meeting is being held in Northern Europe,” he said.
Essam Abdullah of Emirates Arabian Horse Society, who also addressed the press conference, said the safety and preservation of the breed of Arabian horses was of utmost importance.
“Thanks to HH Sheikh Mansoor last year we made a great start. Though the number of Arabian horses in racing is a small percentage it is a very important number, very vital to the Arabian racing,” he said.
“It is very important on how we protect the Arabian racing horses for the sake of the owners, for breeders and for Arab culture as a whole.” Abdullah said.
Obeid Al Suweidi, First Secretary of the UAE Embassy in the Netherlands, wished the three-day conference all the success and thanks HH Sheikh Mansoor for his support to Purebred Arabian racing.
Stephen Bowey, Executive Director of Invest AD, one of the sponsors of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival said, “It is a great privilege to be what I call a supporter, rather a friend of Arabian racing. The Sheikh Mansoor Festival is a wonderful series and keeps growing and growing.”
“The Arabian Racing Conference has been a great achievement and glad to see how it has developed. I see all of those involved in this conference as passionate professionals. In fact it is one big passion happening here,” said Bowey.