April 4, 2014, Jinma Racecourse, Chengdu ~ Prize money totaling AED2,126,887 – $579,000US – €422,000 will be at stake across the five races being staged in partnership by the Meydan Group and the Chengdu Municipal Government at the landmark China race day in Wenjiang, a district in the Garden City of Chengdu, on Sunday April 6.
The feature race on the first program at Jinma Racecourse to be contested by horses from outside China is the Chengdu Dubai International Cup over 2200m.This event and the Wenjiang Meydan Classic over 1600m are presented by international watchmaker, Longines.
The other races are the Wenjiang Sprint (1200m), Guangsha Handicap (1400m) and Meydan Mile (1600m). All races are on turf.
The race meeting is being run under Emirates Racing Authority rules, and not only are the 48 horses taking part trained in the UAE, they will be ridden by UAE-based jockeys, including the first three in this season’s championship – Tadgh O’Shea, Richard Mullen and Royston French – and former title-holder Ted Durcan.
Trainers represented include four of the top five in this year’s UAE Trainer’s Championship – Musabah Al Muhairi, Ali Rashid Al Raihe, Satish Seemar and Doug Watson – and former champion Erwan Charpy.
Jockeys and trainers taking part were introduced to local media at a special event held in the Intercontinental Hotel in Chengdu on Friday morning.
UAE-born jockey, Ahmad Ajtebi drew particular interest from journalists and TV broadcasters, who asked about his early experience riding camels and his record of having ridden winners in 18 different countries.
Ajtebi said: “This is my first visit to China and I am so excited to be here. I wish good luck to all the jockeys, and I am ambitious to ride a winner in China to add to my record.”
Richard Mullen added: “I am very pleased to be here, and I hope we can show the people of Chengdu the excitement of horseracing, or the sport of kings, as it is known around the world.”
Speaking on behalf of the three UAE-born trainers who have sent horses to Chengdu, Ahmad bin Harmash said: “The track is beautiful; everything is fine for the horses, and we are looking forward to the racing on Sunday.”
Dubai Racing Club Chief Executive, Frank Gabriel opened the media event by thanking the organizations involved in the partnership with the Meydan Group – the Chengdu Municipal Government, the Chengdu Sports Bureau, the Wenjiang District Government and the China Guangsha Group.