October 21, 2013, Baden Baden, Germany ~ Athlete del Sol got off the mark as the six-year-old son of Dormane (x La Volee) held on strongly to land the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Gr2 at the Baden Baden Racecourse, Sunday, October 20.
Trained in Netherlands by Karine van den Bos and ridden by Alexander Pietsch, the brilliant performer responded keenly to narrowly prevail under pressure when attacked by the hot favorite, Ameretto (Amer x Win Taouy) close home.
“He has apparently relished the soft ground,” said a jubilant jockey in a post-race chat. “After the good start from the first draw, I had to do something to keep him away from the wire and my mount has settled nicely. He picked up very well and responded keenly when asked the question in the concluding stages of the tough race,” he added.
The Dutch-based trainer Karin van den Bos said she has expected him to run well. “I thought he could probably win the race, but I was not quite sure that he would do it in this great style. Ameretto is a very tough contender and when I saw him attacking my horse near post, my heart fell. It was a difficult moment, but Athlete del Sol is a great horse ridden by a great jockey,” she said. “Athlete del Sol has won twice in Stockholm. We have subjected him recently to a special training system and fortunately it has paid off.
The UAE ambassador to Germany HE Jumaa Mubarak Al Junaibi alongside Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Chairman of the Ladies Racing Committee at the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authority (IFAHR), Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and the racing manager at Baden Baden racecourse crowned the winners.
“We are truly delighted to see all this success for the inaugural event of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup after coming back to its home in Baden Baden,” Al Junaibi said. “The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayeed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival has hit the highest level of success and presented the civilised image of the UAE thanks to the generous patronage of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs,” he added.
“The bilateral relationship between UAE and the Federal Republic of Germany has received a strong boost at the political, economic and cultural levels thanks to the wise policy which was laid down by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sawaya noted that the race is named after the founder of the nation and marks the beginning of a strong relationship between the festival and Baden Baden Racecourse. “The race will be promoted to Group-1 by next year,” she confirmed.
“Arrangements are underway for the final of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR besides the apprentice jockeys’ championship which will see 14 riders from around the globe competing in Abu Dhabi under the slogan of ‘Five Continents of the World in Abu Dhabi 2013’,” she said.
“The HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to develop and improve the jockeys’ skills (EARS) which carries the name of the ‘Mother of the UAE’ will be attended by representatives from 33 countries worldwide.
“The winner and runners up of the World Championship for Young Horses alongside the top three finishers in the recent FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors’ (individuals and teams) are invited to attend the final of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR in Abu Dhabi from November 6 to 10,” Sawaya said.
Adnan Sultan commented: “I would like to thank HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support for the Arabian horse. The return of the Zayed Cup to Baden Baden represents true addition to the festival and the Arabian races in Germany as such.”
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organised 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 Tourism Development& Investment Company (TDIC), Invest AD, Arabtec Holding PJSC, Al Rashid Investment, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2014, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Wathba Stud Farm, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Hotel and SPA and Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah.
Photos by Morhaf