More help and support available for more apprentice jockeys
2 May 2018, Madrid, Spain ~ The International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) held its General Assembly in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, 1 May 2018, at Eurostars Madrid Tower Hotel. The GA was held ahead of the World Arabian Horse Racing Forum, scheduled to be held in Madrid from 2-4 May 2018, and comes under the umbrella of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Ms. Lara Sawaya, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, General Manager of Wathba Stallions and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), in her opening address, urged member countries to identify more apprentice jockeys so as to enable them to participate in the Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship race series.
Several member countries including Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, US and UK, and the UAE, attended the meeting while four representatives interacted via Skype in the highly interactive discussion.
Ms Sawaya stated that IFHRA was aware that several issues were preventing the member-countries from sending more apprentices owing to travel and visa restrictions, but nevertheless, efforts have to be made in this direction. She said there are already ten apprentice races scheduled under the Festival, with each race having ten riders, bringing the number of riders to 100 and said more needed to be done to attracted different countries, other than those who normally take part.
Ms Sawaya welcomed the presence of two representatives from the Abu Dhabi Youth Council and Abu Dhabi Police Youth Council, who as observers will attend all IFHRA meetings and events to cooperate and coordinate their functioning.
Regarding the Mentorship program, where young apprentice jockeys travel to other countries on a scholarship under RSF, Ms. Sawaya stated that ten students have been approved for the year 2018 and the first student had already begun his program.
Ms Sawaya sought more coordination among member countries to make the races more successful. She also added that one more race will be held exclusively for the South American region. She emphasized that each apprentice rider should have completed five wins to be able to participate in the Festival races.
Representatives from Brazil, Malaysia and Italy stated that they were encouraged by Festival and Arabian racing has seen an increase in the recent past. Malaysia is planning to hold a race for Purebred Arabian horses, the first of its kind in the region, during September this year which will be followed by more races in the coming year.
Suggestions were put forth by members regarding the selection of apprentices and how to prepare them to take part in the races by selecting three or more jockeys from each country before the season begins.
The meeting was moderated b Chris Watson, New Zealand representative.
The next meeting will be held in Abu Dhabi in November 2018.