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BY M. Satya Narayan / 2017-08-13
O’SHEA STEERS MITH’HAF ATHBAH TO WIN IN SHEIKH ZAYED CUP
 
The Group 1 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan race made a spectacular debut at Chelmsford City Racecourse in the United Kingdom on Saturday as Mith’haf Athbah was ridden home to a narrow win by Tadhg O’Shea.
 



Festival races provide great excitement at Chelmsford City in UK
O’Shea steers Mith’haf Athbah
to Sheikh Zayed Cup (Gr 1) win

Chelmsford City, UK
The Group 1 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan race made a spectacular debut at Chelmsford City Racecourse in the United Kingdom on Saturday as Mith’haf Athbah was ridden home to a narrow win by Tadhg O’Shea.
On a day when a large crowd watched all four race series of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival run as part of the UAE Abu Dhabi Day, the other two big winners were Danish lady jockey Rikke Bay Torp and Jordan’s Apprentice jockey Milly Naseb.
The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) staged this inaugural UAE Abu Dhabi Day at Chelmsford City Racecourse on Saturday evening with six Purebred Arabian races held in front of a 10,000 strong audience.
The first Group 1 race ever to be held at the Essex track produced a thrilling finish with Mith’haf Athbah under by Tadhg O’Shea to win the Zayed Cup. This was also the first time the UK stages of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Group 1) and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies and Apprentice World Championships (IFAHR) races were run together on the same card as the feature race.
Fittingly it was the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup which provided the crowd with a truly exciting finish, which saw Mith’haf Athbah and Kalino duelling up the home straight and required a photograph to confirm Mith’haf Athbah’s win by a nose. This was a first Group 1 victory for Mith’haf Athbah, who bravely kept the 2015 HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Gr1 PA) winner Kalino at bay, with another former Zayed Cup winner, Al Mouwaffak (2015, Toulouse) a further two and a half lengths behind in third.
Trainer Phil Collington was full of praise for his colt saying: “Looking back at his previous form in Group races over further, I thought he had the speed to drop back to a mile. I wasn’t sure if he would handle the surface, as he hasn’t run here before, but it was the right decision obviously. The owners, Athbah Stud will be delighted to win a Group 1 with him.”
The HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) offers the valuable opportunity for professional and amateur lady riders to compete and exchange experiences. The UK stage was won by Madjanthat who led from start to finish for Danish jockey Rikke Bay Torp, with Vindetta and professional German jockey Tamara Hofer giving chase, and UK amateur Ellie Mackenzie in third on Noble Athlete.
Madjanthat’s trainer James Owen commented: “We’re really pleased with him, obviously his form had dipped in the UAE and he’s been freshened up by doing Endurance since he arrived here in the UK. He’s ridden by girls at home and they get on really well with him. Rikki gave him a great ride today, letting him take charge, and she’s absolutely delighted that she‘ll be going to the finals in Abu Dhabi in November.”
The HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) UK stage was won by another front-runner in Storm Troupour ridden by 24 year-old Milly Naseb, representing Jordan. Last year’s winner Emiraaty, under the UK’s Paddy Pilley was never able to get on terms in second, though they were clear of recent winner Cheikh Roque and Poland’s Konrad Mazur in third. Both Pilley and Naseb had won at Chelmsford City before, however it was Naseb who had the best record with an impressive five wins from 27 rides on Thoroughbreds at the Essex track.
A clearly delighted Naseb, who is attached to UK thoroughbred trainer Stuart Williams, said: “Although I have had nearly 150 thoroughbred rides in my career so far, I have only had three on Arabian racehorses and this was my first win on an Arabian. I rode in the Apprentice race last year at Lingfield, and in a conditions race here in June, when I was fourth. It will be really exciting to ride in the finals in Abu Dhabi.”
For owner-trainer, Beverly Deutrom it was an emotional victory saying: “I would like to dedicate this win to Shena Paterson who passed away last week. Storm Troupour loves the All Weather and going round a bend, he needed the run at Newbury after returning from Dubai and will go to Belgium next.”
The three supporting races were run under the Wathba Stallions banner, as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival. This proved just as exciting with a double for Owner-Breeder Paul Simmons, trainer, Peter Hammersley, and jockey, David Turner, with the homebred Zayin Angkor Centurion winning the opening maiden and Kallista winning the (0-50) Handicap.
Hammersley said: “That was fantastic. Kallista has been so frustrating. The blinkers helped settle her and everything went her way today, Dave has given her a brilliant ride. Zayin Angkor Centurion is definitely going the right way, he’ll have a rest and head to the UK Arabian Derby next. I’d like to thank the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival for a wonderful evening here at Chelmsford.”
It was also an emotion-packed finale to the card when Billy’s Girl held off the challenge of Taer Hurr. This gave first wins in Arabian racing for jockey James Harding, trainer and part owner, Luke Gedge-Gibson and also was a first win for the sire of Billy’s Girl, Tidabret.
Harding, who had treated the crowd to a Frankie Dettori style flying dismount in the winners enclosure said: “I get very limited rides, with only one ride under rules for my employer, Jonathon Portman, this season, though I had seven wins from my first 19 rides when I started. It’s brilliant to get a first win on an Arabian, and I’ve ridden Billy’s Girl quite a lot, there has been quite a few ups and downs with her. She missed the break, but I was able to sit off the early pace and then let them come back to me. She stayed on well.”
Chelmsford City Racecourse Manager Fraser Garrity “It’s been an absolute pleasure to have the Arabian Racing Organisation and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival races here today. It is also a special privilege to be staging our first ever Group 1 race which produced the best finish of the night, it really got the crowd going. Racing is still fairly new to Essex, we’re the only track here and I think the crowd love a good day out and good horses to watch. It doesn’t make any difference to them if they are Arabians or Thoroughbreds.”
The UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui, Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of 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) and General Manager of Al Wathba Stallions, Mansour Al-Mansouri- Executive Director of Emirates Falconers Club, Mubarak Al Nuaimi-Director of External Promotion at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Dr. Abdullah Al Raisi, Director General of the National Archives, Arif Al Awani, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Ahmed Al Qubaisi of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Jenny Haynes, Vice President of IFHAR gave away the trophies to the winning connections.
Genny Haynes said: “ARO is extremely grateful for the continued support of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival and of its’ Executive Director, Lara Sawaya and we are delighted to welcome all the UAE delegates to witness our Arabian racing here in the UK. Our thanks also go to Racing Welfare for sponsorship of the Best Turned Out awards, and to Fraser Garrity and all the team at Chelmsford for a successful evening.”
The UAE envoy Al Mazroui thanked HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy PM of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs and HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood for staging the races in the UK and said it bolstered ties between the two countries.
“Today has been an outstanding race meeting and the Festival’s races have proved to be a big draw at this venue here in the UK,” said Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of 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, 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 Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, 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, 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.

(Inputs from Debbie Burton, ARO)

 


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