March 3, 2012, Houston, Texas ~ Oman’s Fatma Al Manji on Sanddpiper won the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup after TM Junior Johnson scored handily in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup on Saturday night at the Sam Houston Race Park.
Sanddpiper (Burning Sand x Novelynn), the Bill Waldron-trained 5-year-old mare and Fatma Al Manji created history by becoming the first winners of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup, the first-ever and the richest race for lady jockeys riding Purebred Arabian horses.
US rider Sandee Beattie rode odds-on favorite, TM Superbird (Burning Sand x Heaven Kan Wait), trained by Elizabeth Brand and owned by the Teutsch, Hammad Partnership, to second place, while UAE rider, Shathra Al Hajjaj, rode Rich Kinkga, owned by Dianne Waldron and trained by Tracy Nunley to third in this race for amateur lady riders.
“This is one of my biggest and greatest victories. I am happy for my family and my country and I thank HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak and HH Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs for creating this opportunity for us,” said Al Manji.
A large crowd of fans earlier witnessed another great race when in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Grade 3) race worth US $30,000.
TM Junior Johnson (Burning Sand x Queen Kong), trained by Jerenesto Torrez, owned by Todd Moak and under jockey, Jose Figueroa, finished ahead of Status Symbol, owned and trained by Ken Danyluk and under jockey, Dakota Wood. Its Far From Over, owned by Emirati Mohammed Faisal Al Hammadi and trained by Elizabeth Brand, finished third under jockey Travis Wales. Bill Waldron’s Grilla, 2011 winner and favorite, came in fourth with Erik McNell in the saddle.
The two races, supported in Houston by the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak IFHAR Cup, are a boon for Arabian racing. US officials welcomed dignitaries Omar Al Shamshi, Deputy Chief of Mission at the UAE Embassy in the US, Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, Abdul Mohsin Al Dossary, Assistant Under Secretary of Sports at the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare, Talal Al Hashmi of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Ali Moosa Al Khamiri of Dubai Equestrian Club, Patrick Buckley of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and Stephen Bowey of Invest AD to the prize and trophy distribution.
Al Shamshi hailed the success of the Omani and UAE jockey and said, “The Festival’s success is already being reflected in the success of the Arab lady jockeys here in this first-ever race for lady jockeys.”
“We are glad that such large numbers turned out and cheered for the two Arabian races that we staged here tonight,” said Ms Sawaya.
Sunday evening will hail another milestone in Arabian racing as the Festival will sponsor the 25th Anniversary of the coveted Arabian Darley Awards in Houston.
“We have another great night ahead when we stage 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 here in Houston tomorrow night,” said Sawaya.
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.