March 2, 2012 Houston, Texas ~ The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup will be held at the Sam Houston Park Race Course on Saturday night.
Six-year-old Grilla, winner of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup last year is back to defend his title. He will face tough competition from TM Junior Johnson, Rich Frynchman and Golly Bret in the 11-strong field for the Grade Three Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup.
The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup is the first of seven races of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival to be held in the US and carries a prize money of US$ 30,000.
Lady jockeys are set to create history when the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup becomes the first-ever such race for lady jockeys in the US.
Twelve lady jockeys from around the world are taking part in the race which is over a distance of 1400metres and is one of the richest races for lady jockeys with prize money of US$25,000. The UAE’s Shathra Al Hajjaj will represent her country as will Omani rider, Fatma Al Manji.
“We have broken new ground by staging this race here in the US and it will be the first time that the lady jockeys will be racing on Arabian horses for the richest purse in a ladies event”, said Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards and Head, Ladies Racing in IFAHR.
H.E Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director of the General Women’s Union and Chairperson of the UAE Women’s Sports Committee said, “It is a matter of great pride that an Emirati lady jockey is in the line-up for this prestigious race being held for the first time in the US.”
“I will do my best in the race and I am thankful for this great opportunity which has been provided to me”, said Al Hajjaj.
Omani jockey Al Manji said, “I have won seven races so far in my career but a win here will certainly be the best of them all.”
Stephen Bowey of Invest AD said, “We are expecting an exciting start to the Festivals activities here in the US and we are proud to be associated with this endeavor.”
The H.H Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Arabian Horse Society and IFAHR, supported by General Authority for Youth and Sports and Fegentri with Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Mauzan, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2012, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.