Gulf News: Bernard dominates Mansour Festival with another winner

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Abu Dhabi: Trainer Jean-Francois Bernard saddled his third winner in the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Global Arabian Flat Racing series as Kiss De Ghazal demolished her rivals in the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Prix Cheri Bibi), a Group 2 race held at the Craon Racecourse in France, on Saturday.

Ridden by Jean-Francois Eqeum, the three-year-old filly followed up her impressive debut win by outclassing favourite Musharab by more than four lengths to ensure trainer Bernard ended the Shaikh Mansour Festival on a dominant note.

Bernard’s Muqatil Al Khalidiah had earlier won the Duindigt, in Holland, and in Warsaw. Kiss De Ghazal gave him more reason to celebrate as she was in great form on Saturday recording her second successive win in the 20,000-euro (Dh73,436) race.

Speaking to Gulf News from Craon, Bernard said, “I knew she had the quality to last the distance and she did beat some good colts. I am extremely happy with the results in this year’s series and I hope these three-year-olds go on and live up to their early promise.”

The race was the sixth in this year’s Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival being organized by Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage (ADACH).

Abdullah Al Shamsi, Charge d’Affaires at the UAE Embassy in France, and Lara Sawaya, director of the Festival, along with Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, director-general of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and Stephen Bowey, communications director at Invest AD, gave away the trophies to the winning connections.

“Horse racing has a heritage and culture. It is one of the sports with a large fan following in France. In addition to promoting Arabian horses, the campaign is also promoting trade and bilateral relationships between the two countries,” Al Shamsi said.

Abdullah Al Qubaisi, director of communications at ADACH, said in a statement: “Craon is a historic race course in France and it’s very significant for our international campaign to promote Arabian horses which reflects positively on the county’s image and heritage.”

Lara Sawaya, director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, said: “The success of the race was evident from the eagerness of the owners of Arabian horses to participate in the race carrying the name of the late Shaikh Zayed, as well as the presence of large number of race-goers at the race course today”.