March 23, 201,4 Belgium ~ 2013 was a very successful Arabian race season in Ostend, Belgium, and the number of entries showed the immense popularity of the Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan Cup among the trainers. According to the Jockey Club of Belgium, the races were of a very high standard and were run in front of a crowd of 5,000, which contributed to obtain the equivalent status as the Thoroughbred races, as proven by the new acceptance of the Belgian Arab races in the Equidia betting-program.
There were five races at Ghlin for local breeders and participants including 2 Qatar NEAR races and a Wathba Stud Farm Cup with two more organized with the help of the track and the Belgian Arab Horse breeders Association (BAPS-SBCA).
Emirates Equestrian Federation, the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, and the H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, the Global sponsors, have expressed the intention to continue the major races of last year, and Ostend will see in addition a H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) €30,000 leg run on Monday 18 August, together with the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup €35,000. Anna van den Troost will be the local entry into the Ladies World Championship for a chance to ride in the November Abu Dhabi Finale.
The Qatar Wellington Cup will be run on Belgian National Day, Monday, 21 July, and the meeting will again be closed by a music concert on the Esplanade and by a marvelous fireworks show over the sea.
The traditional July date for the President of the UAE Cup falls within Ramadan, and this highlight will be shifted to August – date to be decided.
For Ghlin, Qatar NEAR races are scheduled for 28 April and 11 June. Both races will be for 4 years+, satisfying the Qatar Near requirements. Qatar brings another novelty for this season in the form of a Breeders Premium of 500 euro offered by the Qatar NEAR Trust to the breeder of every winner in a Qatar Near race, in as far as that horse has been born and first registered in one of the North European countries (Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, Belgium or Switzerland).
Wathba Stud Farm Cup race is scheduled for 23 September.
Come and enjoy the racing!
Contributed by Nelly Philippot – Photo by Morhaf