Interactive debate on media and jockeys at conclusion of HH Sheikha Fatima Conference
11 November 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ One of the most important aspects of any event, the role of media and public relations, came under scrutiny on the second and final day of EARS HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Conference for Training and Education held at the National Archive premises in Abu Dhabi on Friday, 11 November 2016.
Titled “PR and the Media for Racing Industry Recruitment, Training, Education and Arbitration“, the panel was composed of Derek Thompson, TV presenter for racing from the UK and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival announcer; Tony Smurthwaite, Managing Editor, Racing Post, UK; Jean Claude Allies, Paris Turf; Laura King, TV presenter Dubai Racing; and Enrico Querci, journalist and TV presenter from Italy. The session was moderated by Philip Brannan, Sports Guide, Limited, UK.
Discussion on the role of jockeys and media was the highlight of this highly interactive session after Brannan began by pointing out that international coverage of Arabian racing has increased tremendously, thanks greatly to HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival, which has spread awareness all over the world.
Derek Thompson felt that Arabian racing has grown and there is more and more Arabian coverage. “The September, Santa Anita, California, race had excellent betting turnover thanks to the Festival and Yas TV, “he continued.
The discussion on jockey interviews was begun by Smurthwaite who said, “Interviewees should be honest and engaging,” for which one of the jockeys quickly quipped that if they are very honest “they may not get a chance to race again.”
In preparing jockeys for interviews after racing, an important part of a jockey’s career Racing Post Managing Editor, Smurthwaite said, “They should folow the letters – HEY.
Be Honest, Be Engaging, Be Yourself.”
The majority of the panelists felt that most young jockeys are not prepared to face the media; the reasons could be many and sundry-lack of experience, fear of print or electronic media, no preparation, lack of education and above all time constraints.
Allies from Paris Turf affirmed that jockeys should be available for media despite time constraints and Laura King pointed out race courses could play a vital role in this aspect.
Querci, who just launched a magazine for Purebred Arabian horses under the Festival’s umbrella, highlighted the role of racing schools in training the jockeys to face the media. “Even if a jockey has just finished five or six races, he should take ample time to answer the media questions and I personally feel racing schools can prepare the jockeys“.
Smurthwaite advised jockeys not to be “daunted by the idea of an interview.”
Derek Thompson agreed with Philip Brannon that media coaching for jockey’s varies from some to none. Thompson said that having a signature propels a jockey into the limelight…and that results in more rides, more horses, and more money. He cited the flying dismount by jockey Franki Detorrie as a signature move. “People run to see this flying dismount,” he said.
All panelists agreed that the media should be mindful of how to get the best answers from a jockey, asking questions that require more than a “yes,” answer.
The culmination of the two-day conference was a workshop conducted by 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) and announcer Derek Thompson.
At the outset Ms. Sawaya thanked HH Sheikh Mansoor and HH Sheikha Fatima for “Giving every single jockey present in Abu Dhabi conference today a chance to discover the world.” It was the vision of HH Sheikh Mansoor to take jockeys worldwide and help them in their attempt to be the best in their chosen field and IFHRA was born as a result of this,” she said. Through conferences like this Ms. Sawaya said, “We can help you to grow but you should help yourselves to achieve the best.”
The workshop also deliberated on issues revolving around weight management, improvement of jockey lifestyles, and the best way to help a jockey be successful. It was decided that a special workshop for jockeys would be included in the Morocco Conference on World Arabian Horse Racing in May, 2017, and a seminar for trainers to train their jockeys.
The conference was held under the directives of His Highness 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.
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, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, IPIC as Strategic Partner, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Al Aweer Stables, Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, 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 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.
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