Racing officials and envoys from the UAE and the world are in attendance.
4 May 2017, Marrakesh, Morocco ~ The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s annual World Arabian Horse Racing Conference got off to a start at the Four Seasons Hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Thursday, 4 May 2017.
Over 400 delegates representing 86 countries are attending the three-day conference, which will be followed by the ‘UAE Abu Dhabi Day’ racing at the Hippodrome Marrakesh on Sunday, 7 May.
The morning kicked off with the Breeding Session which was chaired by Masoud Saleh (Bahrain) with Khalid Al Nabooda (UAE), Jean-Pierre Deroubaix (Fr), Ezzadine Sedrati (Morocco), Hassan Moussli (Syr/ Fr), Michelle Morgan (US) and Ahmad Rayan (Algeria) as panelists.
Speaking about the time it takes to see if a horse will be successful in a racing career, Al Nabooda said it takes four years before you know if you have bred and raised a champion and added that luck only plays a small part. Morgan gave an example of how between two full brothers, one goes on to be a champion while the other does not. She however emphasized that there would be a race for every race horse, perhaps at another level.
Jean-Pierre Deroubaix said Arabian horses understand love and hence needed to be treated differently than many other racing breeds. He added that right education and information were tools to achieve anything.
Essam Abdulla urged breeders to do their homework and develop a breeding and racing program that will focus on quality rather than quantity.
Dr. Sedrati highlighted the support of the local Moroccan government and the betting support that puts money back into the race community. He urged International race day competitions between countries and regions that could support racing.
The second session dealt with Racing & Training with racing commentator Gary Capewell (UK) as moderator. Panel members were Helal Al Alawi (UAE), Simon Hobson (US), Mohammed Al Hashemi (Oman), Dr Stefano Daneri (Italy), Francis Mautoben (FR), Dr Sefian Alami (Morocco), and Zakaria Semlali (Morocco).
Hobson highlighted the fact that that Purebred Arabian racing and Thoroughbred racing were often unaware of each other and an effort to have more communication between them should be made. He also confirmed that medication rules were rapidly changing. ”I would love to see no drugs at all anywhere,” he said.
“Arabian racing was part of our life but now it is an industry and we now take horses out of our country and race in England and France and that has given us substantial success,” said Oman’s Al Hashemi.
Dr. Daneri defined the role of a veterinarian in racing as one of support to the trainer and said together they can be the winning formula for a horse’s success.
The UAE trainer Al Alawi repeated the problem of insufficient UAE races. “We have nearly 500 horses coming every year and at the end of the season about 400 are still maidens and then the next season these along with another 500 new horses of the next season pose a huge problem for connections to find races,” he said.
“Vets play a very important role in shaping champion horses. The process is complicated but the role of vets does make a huge difference between success and failure of the equine athletes,” said Dr. Alami, who also highlighted the role of sports medicine in racing.
Four more session will be held before the Workshop on Saturday followed by racing on Sunday.
The session on Jockey Weight Control & Nutrition was moderated by UAE-based racing TV presenter Laura King (UK) with a panel including Richard Mullen (UK), Xavier Ziani (FR), Mahi Aramideh (UK), Acaena Amoros (Spain), Dr Jamal Hout (Can), Kai Schirmann (GER) and Dr Philip Pritchard (UK) .
Dr. Pritchard on behalf of The Liverpool John Moores University expressed gratitude to the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival for the generous support in their research and development of Jockeys Weight management program.
“This work was only made possible due to the Festival’s support. Although this three-year program has now come to an end, it has prompted the British Horse Racing Authority, in conjunction with Racing Foundation, to continue this work and we are now able to offer any jockey in the UK the opportunity to visit the University, be assessed and have their own unique nutritional and weight management program produced,” he told the conference.
Mullen, UAE Champion jockey and Festival Ambassador, said: “Five years ago jockeys never thought of their food and training methods as athletes but now they do, thanks mainly to the Festival’s concerted efforts through such conferences. We can see a change in the mentality of jockeys.”
Mullen made a strong plea to stop the unhealthy habit of ‘flipping’ (jockeys regularly induce vomiting or flipping, an extreme dieting method) and said educating the younger jockeys was the most powerful tool in make them inculcate healthy practices of keeping weight.
Ziani said jockeys will always face the weight problem and with taller jockeys entering the scene the challenge is that much more difficult.
Mahi Aramideh and Acaena Amoros advocated the use of vitamins, minerals and amino acids through IV, while Dr Jamal Hout said jockeys should check for foods that are bad through a muscle response system. Kai Schirmann advanced his thoughts that jockeys should consult their doctors on the correct weight loss and nutrition methods.
On Wednesday night the guests were treated to a ‘Casablanca night’ at the Royal Mansour in Marrakesh.
The event is being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, who in a message welcome those attending the Conference.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, the National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with and sponsored by Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2017, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.