AF Lafeh wins Wathba Stud Farm Cup Championship in Abu Dhabi

smNaboodaIMG_6639March 17, 2013, Abu Dhabi ~ It was a fitting finale to the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud farm Cup race series at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club racecourse.
The winners of the first 14 Wathba Stud farm Cup races of the 2012-13 UAE season were in the fray for Sunday’s  (March 17)final race in the series with the prize fund increased by DH 30,000 to DH 80,000.
The Championship was won by the Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah-owned AF Lafeh (Amer x HOURIYA BOUZNIKA (MA) by Bartaba), under champion-elect jockey Tadhg O’Shea, that beat strong contender Yazan under Richard Mullen to give trainer Gillian Duffield her second success in the series. Eric Lemartinel’s AF Qamoos finished third under Gerald Avranche to bring the curtain down on this race series which is open only to Private Owners as a move to encourage them. The 1600m race was won in the time of 01:44:19.
  It was O’Shea’s fourth win of the night and the Irishman got the better of Richard Mullen, his main challenger for the jockey’s crown, who rode the fancied Yazan.
“I just followed Tony Manuel’s horse. I thought he was the one to beat on paper and my fellow quickened up better on the night,” O’Shea said.
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Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, who received the trophy from HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, said, “It is for the third consecutive year that we are topping HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud farm Cup race series.”
“This is a great initiative by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs who supports breeders and owners of Purebred Arabian horses with such races,” Al Naboodah said.
Apart from HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and Head of Ladies Racing at IFAHR, Saif Al Awani of Al Awani General Enterprises and Stephen Bowey of Invest AD attended the prize distribution ceremony.
“In organising the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority has the preservation of the UAE’s cultural heritage and traditions as its driving principal,” Mr. Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism& Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) said in a message.
“Equestrianism in general, and Purebred Arabian racing in particular, has been a part of the life and spirit of every Emirati and by promoting this sport globally the Festival seeks to enhance the status of Arabian racing,” he added.smNaboodaawardIMG_6672
“Under the directives and support of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood the Festival has achieved tremendous success and we intend to continue and build on this,” Al Muhairi said.
“This year we have witnessed a great progress in the quality of races that the Wathba Stud Farm Cup has produced. The owners and trainers are delighted and keen to keep this tradition going,” said Ms Sawaya, while commenting on this series for Private Owners.
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, Arabtec Holding PJSC, SAS Investment, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, 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.
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