HH Sheikh Zayed Cup, HH Sheikha Fatima Cup races on Saturday at Sam Houston race park
4 March 2016, Houston, Texas, USA~ The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Gr 1 – Amethyst Jewel- race gets the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s US campaign off to a roaring start at the Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, 5 March 2016.
Saturday’s 7-furlong Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup race is also the first leg of the three-race Triple Jewel series for Purebred Arabians in the US and the winner of the inaugural edition last year, Paddys Day, is back to bid for a successful defense of that triumph.
While 10 runners will contest the US $45,000 Sheikh Zayed Cup Amethyst Jewel (Grade 1) the other featured race of the night is also a Festival race- the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Cup in which lady jockeys will vie for honors over a similar 7-furlong distance.
In the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup – Amethyst Jewel
In the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup – Amethyst Jewel, the Texas-bred Paddys Day starts as the favorite. Winner of 11 of his 14 starts, the Burning Sand 5-year-old returns to Sam Houston Race Park for owner Quarter Moon Ranch LLC and trainer Scott Powell. Jockey Kelsi Purcell will be on board Paddys Day in his first start since winning the Arabian Stallion Stakes on October 16 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Trainer Jerenesto Torrez is hoping to strike with Easter Man, who returns to action following a victory in Houston in the Grade 2, $30,000 Texas Six Shooter. Bred and owned by Betty and Joseph Gillis, Easter Man is in pursuit of his third consecutive stakes win. Jockey Ivan Arellano has been the regular rider of Easter Man, and will be in the saddle again on Saturday night.
“Ivan knows him and has been winning,” stated Torrez. “Easter Man is 100% ready. The competition is a little tougher than what he faced in the Texas Six Shooter, but some of the horses are coming off long layoffs.”
Two other runners that are expected to pose a challenge to Paddys Day and Eastern Man are Sammy V and F Sixteen while the others in the fray in the Group (Grade) 1 race are RB Brilliant, Quick And Rich, Thess Is Awesome, Es Mi Ciello, Uptown Dannys Boy and RB Rich.
HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Cup
A field of 10 fillies will compete in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Cup, a race that features all female jockeys and is being held here for the fifth year in a row.
French jockey Delphine Garcia Dubois will ride favorite, Jewell AA, owned by Betty and Joseph Gillis of Columbus, Mississippi. Winner of her last two stakes including the Texas Yellow Rose at Sam Houston on February 6, the 4-year-old daughter of Burning Sand is trained by Jerenesto Torrez.
Torrez also saddles Dhaan under Dutch jockey Tjarda Van Den Humphreij and RB Fyrnch Broad under Norwegian Nora Hagelund Holm, and reports that each of the fillies are coming into the race in good order. Torrez admits that with the international roster of jockeys who participate in the stakes sometimes communicating instructions can be challenging.
“Generally, I just give them a leg up and wish them good luck,” said Torrez.
Trainer Lynn Ashby saddles three runners – Our Princess under Briton Joanna Mason, Royal Riches under Belgian Sara Vermeersch and Throughleap under Italian Evelyn Pohl with Our Princess expected to run a big race.
Ken Danyluk has two entrants in Hesster under Ireland’s Aine Dagg and Dartyn Kriss Swa under Slovakia’s Michala Kucharikova while the other runners include Renee Lafleur-trained My Vaz Is Hot under Germany’s Eva Maria Herresthal and the Glen P. Rottweiler-trained Charich under Sweden’s Elin Rodjare
Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairman of the Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Chairman of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) said, “The Festival’s presence in US which has a strong base of Purebred Arabian horses is getting bigger and better. Paddys Day, last year’s winner of the Festival’s Triple Jewel is back in the fray and also has a lot of fans in the UAE after his run in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Group 1 Jewel Crown, the world’s richest race for Purebred Arabians held in Abu Dhabi last November.”
“This Houston race is the first leg of the Triple Jewel and this three-race series carries an additional bonus of US $150,000 and will be given to the top horse of the series. Horses will gain points based on their finish in each of the three races and the one with most points will collect the bonus like Paddys Day did in 2015,” Ms Sawaya said.
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, IPIC as Strategic Partner, 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 Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, 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 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.
Picture of Paddys Day