January 17, 2013, Muscat~ Australian lady jockey Nikita McLean partnered Qabas to glory in the opening round of the 1600m HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak World Ladies Championship at Al Fulaij racecourse on here on Thursday night.
Trained by Salim Al Hakamani on behalf of the Royal Cavalry Oman, the six-year-old son of Simoun Ben Zid ex Zeenah, did everything right to kick away from the pack and storm home gamely.
The first leg of the world’s richest ladies race, which was held on the Omani Derby Cup day, and carried a total purse of Euro 20.000, has attracted a big crowd at the beautiful venue to the delight of the organizers.
Shathra Al Hajjaj carried the UAE hopes in the race as Fatima Manji represented Oman besides other ten lady jockeys from Europe, USA, and Australia and elsewhere who have made up the competitive line up of the event.
Meanwhile, the brilliant jockey put her mount in the centre of the field and raced keenly before she asked Qabas to improve and hit the front in the concluding stages of the mile trip.
The young lady from Down Under who has claimed her 438th winner, did the better work over her Austrian opponent who tried to hold her in close home without much success.
“I’m truly delighted to land my first Arabian win and qualify for the final leg on the big night at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in November,” the winner said later.
“It’s a great owner for me to be part of this prestigious championship which has attracted the cream of lady riders from around the globe,” she added.
Nora Al Suwaidi, director general of the UAE General Women’s Association said: “I would like to thank HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, Chairperson of the UAE General Women’s Federation, Mother of the UAE, for her generous patronage of the championship. The support of Sheikha Fatima for the UAE women has enhanced their status and established a strong base for the women Arabian horse races worldwide.”
The UAE ambassador to Oman, Abdul Redha Khouri, reiterated the importance of the equine sport which is deeply rooted in the history and culture of the people in this part of the world.
“The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival is a realization of the principles which have been laid down by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and His Highness the President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who have followed in his footsteps,” he said.
“The hosting of the first round of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak World Ladies Championship underlines the strength of the brotherly ties which link the two nations with each other,” he added.
Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival and head of women races at IFAHR said: “Under the directives of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to support the championship, Abu Dhabi has become the world’s capital of ladies races.
“This is the first time in which a professional lady jockey lifts the title in one of the 12 rounds of the competition and qualify for the final which will in turn encourage the other riders to emulate her success,” she noted.
Regarding the results which have been achieved by Shathra Hajjaj and Fatima Manji, Sawaya said they are convincing and promising. “We are proud of them. Two more UAE lady jockeys are now ready to take part. Hanadi Al Menhali has been approved by trainer Eric Lemartinel and the popular singer Ariyam is working hard to catch up,” she said.
“The next round will be held in Huston Park, Texas while Switzerland will host for the first time the upcoming round of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup on the ice on February 17,” she added.
Sawaya thanked the organizers for their warm welcome and generous hospitality which have contributed to the success of the opening round.
All horses provided by the Royal Cavalry
- Qabas (Simon Ben Zid x Zeenah) owned by Royal Cavalry, rider Nikita McLean, Australia, trainer, Salim Al Hakmani
- Mudalal (Darike x Rawabi), owned by Royal Cavalry, Jockey Hana Jurankova, Austria, trainer, Said Al Badi
- Al Batra’a (Newday x Mustabshirah), Royal Cavalry, Olga Laznovska, Germany, trainer Salim Al Hakmani
- Hajes (Vertigo x Al Muhabah), Royal Cav, Sandrine Hagenbach, France, Salim Al Hakmani
- Andaleeb (Newday x Gagarka), Eilidh Grant, USA
The event is 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 Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival which 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 airline 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 2012, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.