Race meeting in Sevilla on Saturday, 5 May
4 May 2018, Madrid, Spain ~ Organized by the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, the Forum witnessed panel debates on three additional subjects on Thursday, 3 May 2018, and then joined together in a grand dinner at the Castillo de Vineules outside of Madrid. The week’s events welcomed 400 delegates representing over 80 countries.
Thursday, 3 May 2018, the World Arabian Horse Racing Forum (WAHRF) began with a session on Jockey Weight And Accidents Insurance and was moderated by Gary Capewell. Panel members were Richard Mullen (UK jockey), Sarah Oliver (UK, Amateur Jockey Racing), Ernest Oertel (South Africa, trainer Abu Dhabi, Dubai), Chris Watson (New Zealand), Kai Schirmann (Germany -Jockey School), Mahi Aramideh and Acaena Amoros from Elixir Clinic, Dr. Jamal Hout (Canada) and Sophie Ralston (Ireland, jockey).
Mullen commented on changes after the Festival-supported Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) study and report on how to improve the way Jockeys make-weight. “Many of the jockeys have changed their mentality and now approach the issue as an active sportsperson or athlete,” he said.
Dr. Jamal Hout involved in complementary medicine said the simple mantra was what to eat, how to eat and inclusion of exercise while Mahi Aramideh of Cyprus said the infusion of balanced minerals and vitamins as per one’s need certainly helped in keeping weight.
Trainer Oertel, who lost a leg following a horse accident and young Apprentice jockey Sophie Ralston spoke about insurance issues following their accidents. Jockey coach Kai Schirmann said Germany tied jockey’s insurance with the issue of the jockey license and added that they were valid world-wide. Mullen and Xavier Ziani spoke of the challenges they faced as Insurance companies did not offer affordable accident insurance for jockeys . Khalid Al Naboodah and Oertel made a plea that insurances should also cover all stable staff and not just jockeys and hoped in future this issue could be addressed.
Sarah Olivier added that since the Festival’s involvement, lady jockeys and Apprentice jockeys and even those at the amateur level were looking at a the sport as a career path which augurs well for the future of racing.
The following session on Media, PR & Data Base moderated by Derek Thompson had panelists: Michel Abu Najm (FRA), Katherine Fidler, Racing Post (UK), Satya Narayan (India), Francois Reeves, Paris Turf (FRA), Jonathan Howarths (USA), Nadine Frampton (Australia), Peter Staple (AUS), Michel Chahda (Lebanon), Ibrahim Omran (Egypt) and Mohamed Al Nuaimi (UAE).
Staple, who wrote the autobiography of former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, said newspapers around the world were cutting down on specialized sports reporters pointing out that in his newspaper horse racing reporters did number 24 and now has been reduced to two!
The panelists agreed that use of modern technology and social media should be included in sport reporting. American race announcer, Horowitz said he now covers some races on the spot and relays this through Facebook and from the USA Arabian Jockey Club website.
Commenting on the challenges of reporting on Arabian races, Satya felt the member countries and racing venues must do their bit in providing information and that was a big problem at present when compared to other sport.
Delegates also got a sneak preview of a tracking device from Paris Turf which would transmit more detail in live racing reports on TV and other visual medium.
The need for a comprehensive database for Arabian racing was again an item, and Festival Director Ms. Lara Sawaya stated that the Festival until now has found it inordinately complicated and expensive but are still working on this project.
The final session was on Women in Racing and was moderated by Australia’s only woman race caller Victoria Shaw. On the panel were: Eman Saiqal (UAE), Shathra Al Hajjaj (UAE), Terri Eaton (USA), Ikram Saab (LEB), Barbara De Mieulle (FRA), Heide Bernsdorff (Germany), Mary Martine Ponroy (France), Aisha (UAE) and Lara Sawaya (UAE).
Ms. Sawaya stressed that the Festival’s support for women in racing and endurance was well documented and added that the UAE under its wise leaders was always ahead in promoting women in sport. “The UAE has one of the highest number of women in all work places, highest number of women ministers and highest number of woman ambassadors- all pointing to a great future,” she said.
Eman Saiqal pointed out that from 27 UAE lady riders in 1999 there were 1777 registered endurance lady riders at present. Shathra, a former flat race jockey and current member of the UAE ladies endurance team, recalled the support to her in her initial days and said UAE was a great country to be a women sportsperson. Lebanon’s Saada hailed the role in women’s empowerment that the Festival was promoting and others on the panel agreed that the UAE and the Festival were pioneering the cause of women all over the world. California USA race trainer, Terri Eato,n has been training since she was 18, both Thoroughbred horses and Arabians. Eaton said that she trains each horse according to his individual needs.
Next on the Festival Agenda will be Saturday’s flat racing in Sevilla, and on the same day a 100-mile endurance ride to mark 100 years of Zayed as well as the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Nations Cup Endurance ride. The UAE ladies team will be vying for honors in the team championship.
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 carrier, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFHRA, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi Youth Council, General Authority for Sports and sponsored by Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Nissan Middleast Al Massood Automobiles, Nirvana Travels and Tourism LLC, Equicare Veterinary Services, Alawal Stud, Cavalos Equine Care & Supplies, SET Sustainable Environmental Technologies, Al Awani General Enterprises, Omeir Travels, Kabale, YAS Channel, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohammed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, 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 2018, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.