Wathba Cup opens Al Ain race season
RB Goliath cruises home
Al Ain, UAE
It was the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners race that kick-started the Al Ain race course’s 2016-17 flat racing season on Friday, November 18, 2016.
The 7-race meeting with six races for Purebred Arabians opened with the Wathba Stud Farm Cup, a 1000m handicap with a prize fund of Dh. 70,000.
The Helal Al Alawi-trained RB Goliath under UAE Apprentice Saeed Al Mazroui scored a two-length victory over Saleem ridden by Dubai World Cup winning jockey Fernando Jara. Tm Ac-Dc was ridden to third place by Adrie De Vries.
Abdul Ghani Abdulla owns the 4-year-old son of Madjani and the US bred RB Goliath took .1:07:25 for the five-furlong sprint.
It was RB Goliath’s first win locally at the second attempt, and second in his fledgling race career. The winning jockey Saeed Al Mazrooei jockey said: “He did that quite nicely and the trainer was fairly hopeful coming into the race.”
“We are truly obliged to the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival for its firm stand behind the small breeders and owners,” said a jubilant trainer Helal Al Alawi.
“After a one year layoff, I have decided to race him on turf last Sunday in Abu Dhabi though I was well aware that he is a dirt horse. That was the only open chance in front of him to stretch his legs and he has benefited from the run. Saeed Al Mazrooei gave him great ride and fortunately my horse was in good form. All factors of success have combined together tonight,” he added.
Taha Aljaffal, Maria Rita Antypas and Karl Sad presented the prizes and trophies to the winning trainer who has also received the trophy on behalf of the winning owner.
Later on Friday, the featured 1600m handicap was won in dramatic fashion by Hamares.
Hamares is owned and was bred by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. The Majed Al Jahouri-trained Hamares appeared to hold little chance at halfway but his jockey, Royston Ffrench, is not one to concede defeat.
He demanded a response from his mount, rousting him along on the far turn and, on the long home straight, was rewarded with Hamares flashing home in the final 100m to lead close home and snatch an unlikely victory.
“He really picked up nicely when it mattered,” said Ffrench. “We know he stays further so hoped he would be staying on late and that is exactly what happened.”
“Al Ain race course is very important as they stage a lot of Purebred Arabians races and we are delighted that our race opened the season’s meeting. The Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners is a very important race series for us in the UAE as it give ample opportunities to new connections of Purebred Arabian horses,” said Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the 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).
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 and sponsored by Al Aweer Stables, 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.
(Report has inputs from ERA press release)