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By M. Satya Narayan / 2017-01-21
SWEDEN’S HOLMBERG, OMAN’S AL BALUSHI EMERGE VICTORIOUS
 
Sweden’s Malin Holmberg on Shadan and local lad Saif Al Balushi on RW Starry Night emerged winners of their respective races to herald the 9th edition of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival on Friday, January 20, 2017, at the Al Rahba racecourse in Muscat, Oman.
 



Muscat, Oman
Sweden’s Malin Holmberg on Shadan and local lad Saif Al Balushi on RW Starry Night emerged winners of their respective races to herald the 9th edition of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival on Friday, January 20, 2017, at the Al Rahba racecourse in Muscat, Oman.
Holmberg, who was registering her 37th victory in 311 starts was on top in the Euros 30,000 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) race run over 1600 metres.
Holmberg finished ahead of UK’s Jodie Hughes on BF Asareah while Ireland’s Helen Mooney on Rabdan ran into third place.
“It’s been amazing to win my race here in Oman and qualify for final. Full credit goes to my little horse Shadan and all those involved in this win. It has been so much of fun,” Holmberg said.
The Swede now becomes the first lady jockey to clinch a spot in the year-ending finale of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) race series which visits many other venues around the world before the November final in Abu Dhabi.
It was a great day for Omani racing as one of their Apprentice jockeys won the first-ever HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice Jockeys World Championship (IFHRA) race to be staged in Oman.
Saif Al Balushi on RW Starry Night won the Euros 20,000 race run over 1600 metres to bring a huge cheer to the large crowd that had assembled on the Oman Derby Day meeting.
The 22-year-old and his 10-year-old bay gelding RW Starry Night finished ahead of Kersley Ramsamy of Mauritius on Jareer while Germany’s Esther Weissmeier on Jayyash finished third.
“I am really happy to win this race today and will do my best in the final in November in Abu Dhabi to keep my country’s flag high. This race for Apprentice jockeys is a huge boost for young jockeys and it is a sign of prestige to win a leg of this world championship series in the name of HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak,” the Omani jockey said.
HE Mohammed Sultan Al Suwaidi, UAE Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, Ms. 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, Mohsen Bin Mohammed Al Sheikh, Chairman of Muscat Municipality, Brigadier Abdul Razaq Bin Abdul Qadir Al-Shahwarzi, Commander of the Royal Cavalry and Supervisor General of Horse Races, Bahraini Shura Council member Lulwa Al-Awadhi, Munira Marzouki and Dr. Stefano Daneri, representing National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC, one of the Festival’s sponsors, were among those who gave away the trophies to the winning connections of the two races.
HE Mohammed Sultan Al Suwaidi said: “It is great that the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival is starting here in Oman. This is a great Festival of races and every year it has only become bigger and better. We are proud that the UAE leaders have devoted so much attention to our heritage sport and we congratulate HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, for the great success of the Festival.”
Ms Sawaya thanked the Omani officials and the racing staff for the co-operation in smoothly organising the two races under the umbrella of the Festival.
“The two world championship races held today carry the name of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the UAE, Chairperson of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Mother of the World and hence are very important to us,” Ms Sawaya stated.
“The icing on the cake was the win for Omani Apprentice Saif Al Balushi and we hope more jockeys from the region excel in this sport,” she added.
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 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 2017, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.

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