January 18, 2013, Press release St. Moritz- Switzerland ~ Fanal el Samawi, invariably favourite with the crowd, ran a cracking race to land the opening leg of the 1800m Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Listed), the first-ever Arabian contest staged on ice at the White Turf St. Moritz here on Sunday. The event was held on the final day of the three Sundays in February with over 14000 spectators flocked to the frozen expanse to enjoy the fun and excitement of the game.
The race was held under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.
Trained by Rennstall Weibmeier at the Alpener Strabe Stables in Germany, on behalf of its owner Sonschalk Weibmeier (wife), and partnered by W. Fabian Xavier, the five-year-old son of Ainhoa St Faust did everything right to lead from the wire to the wire. The winner was chased home by Logudorese (Burgin Tim) who finished a close second and behind this finished Djektan (Fourcy Thomas) to take third near post.
“We have brought Fanal el Samawi from Germany on Thursday and trained him on the track over two days before the race. I think there’s nothing worrying from racing on ice. The pace was slow, but the track was safe and poses no threat to the horses or the riders,” a delighted trainer Weibmeir said later.
The same opinion was shared by the jockey W. Fabian Xavier who confirmed that he didn’t feel any signs of risk at any stage of the trip.
“It’s a thrilling competition and the Arabian horses have showed their ability to run at different surfaces and this is to be added to the many qualities of this noble creature. Fanal el Samawai was in good form and ran a very big race. He handled the surface nicely and responded keenly when asked to improve at the home turn to produce a very good speed despite the slow pace,” he said.
Sonschalk Weibmeier thanked HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for availing them the opportunity to race around the old continent.
“Without the support of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, the launching of this courageous and ground breaking event would have not been possible. We are obliged to this great initiative and equally excited by the growing success of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup series. Fanal el Samawai and other horses in my stables will never stop racing in all events which are organised under the umbrella of the festival, including the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship,” she promised.
HE Mohammed Atiq Al Rumaithi, UAE ambassador to the Switzerland attended the race and said: “The support which is provided by His Highness the President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, May Almighty Allah preserves him, and his brother His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai represents a strong motivation for the youth to excel at the international arenas.”
Al Rumaithi hailed the role of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs in promoting equine sport in general and the Arabian races in particular.
“It’s a historic moment to see the Arabian horses taking part in this important event besides the Thoroughbreds, which is a new and attractive move,” he said.
Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and head of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities ( IFAHR) Ladies Racing, reiterated that horses will remain in action throughout the year at the local and international arenas.
“We have been busy with the HH The President Endurance Cup on Saturday at Al Wathab International Endurance Village and on Sunday we have been in action in Switzerland. Tomorrow we will be elsewhere thanks to the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” she noted.
“And pursuant to the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup is staged for the fifth straight year in a completely different and new outlook. It was a historic moment which has received the wide coverage of the international media in general and the Racing Post in particular.
“The success which has been achieved at St. Moritz has eventually placed this marvelous city among the cities which will host next year’s HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship which is also held as part of the H HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival,” she confirmed.
Adnan Sultan, director of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club said: “The opening round of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup was exciting and hit the highest level of success.”
Khalid Abdullah, director of the sports affairs at the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare hailed the creative initiative of the festival and its positive role in developing Arabians races.
The same opinion was echoed by Ali Mosa, general manager of the Dubai Equestrian Club who highlighted the endless benefits of the festival on the future of the Arabian horse.
Nader Saab said: “The race has become a landmark in the agenda of the festival and its success has exceeded our expectations.”
The HH 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 Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare 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 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2013, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.