15 August 2017, Ostend, Belgium ~ The Wellington racecourse in the Belgian city of Ostend on Monday, 14 August 2017, turned out to be a happy hunting ground for Yas Horse Racing Management, the horse racing arm of Abu Dhabi’s HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In the two Arabian races organized under the umbrella of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival, Naziq under Richard Mullen and Mirna under Rosie Jessop, both horses owned by Yas, won their respective races in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 fans at the Wellington racecourse.
The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Group 3 race run over 1800 metres carrying a prize fund of €35,000 attracted a small field but made for an exciting contest. Richard Mullen, one of the jockey Ambassadors for the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival, steered Naziq to a great win in the Group 3 event.
Mullen on the Elizabeth JF Bernard-trained Naziq was challenged by the Alban de Mieulle-trained First Division General under Jean-Baptiste Hamel, but Naziq was strong enough to win by 1.25 lengths in a time of 2:12.57. Al Mounteze Monlau under Roberto-Carlos Montenegro ran into third place.
Mullen heaped praise on Naziq, a a 5-year-old mare sired by Mahabb bred at the breeding operations of HH Sheikh Mansoor: “Naziq is a great horse, put in a lot of effort in the final stages and helped stay ahead,” said the champion jockey of the UAE.
Trainer Elizabeth Jean-Francois Bernard said, “Naziq is back to the form that she had been in previously which had helped her win the Qatar Arabian Trophy des Juments, a Group 1 race held last year in Chantilly France.”
The second success for Yas Racing and for HH Sheikh Mansoor came when another Mahabb mare, 5-year-old Mirna, finally tasted victory and this time in the Ostend leg of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) race.
Mirna, second in last year’s HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) race at Tarbes racecourse in Pau, France, was given a superb ride by one of the two professional lady jockeys in the 10-horse field.
The UK’s Rosie Jessop seemed to bring out the best from the Mahabb mare, trained by Didier Guillemin, to make it a memorable day for HH Sheikh Mansoor.
It was the first win for Mirna in eight starts and the win helped the 28-year-old Jessop gain her 69th win in 544 starts. The winner completed the 1000-metre distance in 1:05.17.
Jessop, who will now be part of the starting line-up in November in Abu Dhabi to contest the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race, was elated with the victory.
“I have to give full credit to my horse Mirna. She was the best today. I am looking forward to the Abu Dhabi final,” said Jessop, who rode Arabians for over two years during a stint in Bahrain. She now works for Sir Marl Prescott.
HE Abdullah Al Marzouqi, Second Secretary and representative of the Embassy of the State of Belgium, Ms. Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) and General Manager of Al Wathba Stallions and Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of External Promotion Department, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and others gave away the trophies to the winners.
Ms. Sawaya congratulated HH Sheikh Mansoor on the double success of his horses and also hailed Richard Mullen, the Festival’s jockey’s Ambassador for his victory.
“This race was the second leg of the Sheikh Zayed Cup European Triple Crown. The first was held in Toulouse and the next and final leg of the three race series will be in Poland on August 20,” she added.
Ms. Sawaya also praised the huge crowd that filled the Wellington race course, which was estimated at more than 10,000 spectators, and the victory of Van Dyck in the ponies’ race. Van Dyck will represent Belgium in the HH Sheikha Lateefa Bint Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan International Championship for the Pony horses in November in Abu Dhabi.