Duindigt, The Netherlands
Some of the world’s top owners, breeders, trainers, vets and racing officials will be witness to one of the biggest race meetings for Purebred Arabian horses ever to be staged in Northern Europe.
The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage’s (ADACH) HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Racing Festival will for the first time stage the HH Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup which is the richest race for women amateur jockeys.
In the HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Listed) Cup, the Alban De Mieulle trained Rasheeqah, the Bill Smith-trained Theoretically, Jean-Francois Bernard-trained Simmbad are among the favourites in a strong field of runners.
In the HH Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup Fatma Al Marri and Shathra Al Hajjaj will create history as the first-ever UAE lady jockeys. They will be joined by Fatma Almanji and Azhar Alwardi from Oman and Qatar’s Khadija Albastaki as 11 riders including last year’s Ladies Fegentri Cup world champion Tina Henriksson from Sweden tackle the 1900 metres race with a prize fund of Euros 20,000.
Fatma rides the Totain-trained Vantage Lady, a 4-year-old mare owned by Shaikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al Nahyan while Shathra Al Hajjaj will be on the Jean Francois-Bernard-trained Tarfa, a horse owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Lady jockeys from Sweden, England, Qatar, Denmark, Ireland, UAE, Switzerland, Oman, The Netherlands and Germany are taking part in the HH Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup, generously supported by the Emirates Women’s Union.
Three other races for Purebred Arabian horses complete the card and Holland’s most prestigious Trotting race of the year, the “Grote Prijs der Lage Landen” (Great Prize of the Low Lands) will also be held on Sunday, June 19.
HE Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage said, “The Emirates Race Day will reflect the strong bond we still have with the Arabian horse as they showcase their ability of speed and stamina on the racecourse. It is a celebration of the Arabian horse and we hope all the fans will enjoy and be part of the exciting race meeting.”
Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director of the Emirates General Women Association and chairperson of the UAE Women Sport who is present here to support the HH Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup said, “It is a huge step for our two UAE jockeys and the other lady jockeys from the region to come here and compete with international jockeys. We wish them the best of luck.”
Lara Sawaya, Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival said, “The staging of the HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Listed) Cup and HH Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup is a historic event and the Festival will ensure these two races are always held together.”
Stephen Bowey, Executive Director of Invest AD said, “After listening to the qualities and features of the Arabian race horses during the three-day World Arabian Racing Conference, we are all now eagerly waiting to watch the action in the high-quality race meeting.”
Mirna Youness of La Sirene said, “It is a great day for women in the region as five lady jockeys will make us proud when the start in the Ladies Fegentri Cup.”
Meanwhile the Second World Arabian Racing Conference will conclude today (Saturday).
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organized by ADACH, co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society. The Festival’s activities are staged with support from Invest AD, HSBC, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, Areej Al Ameerat, La Sirene, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2011,Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.