Gulf News : Owner targets hat-trick after Zayed Cup win

Houston, Texas: The breeder, owner and trainer of Grilla, winner of Saturday’s Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Grade Three) race at the Sam Houston Race Park, is now aiming to complete a hat-trick of this year’s top races supported by the UAE.

Grilla, which won the inaugural Grade One President of the United Arab Emirates Cup at Keeneland in Kentucky last year, added the Grade Three race here in Texas and Bill Waldron said the five-year-old grey will now take a shot at two more UAE-supported races.

“We will now take a shot at the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup race in July and then go to Keeneland to defend the UAE President’s Cup,” said Waldron.
Grilla’s UAE President’s Cup win ended the unbeaten run of 2010 Darley Horse of the Year Sand Witchh and William Holick, who was on champion mare, was this time on Waldron’s grey.
“This is the first time I have ridden Grilla,” said current Darley Jockey of the Year Holick.

“Normally I ride against Bill but I wasn’t riding in Sam Houston. I called him up and asked him if he would like me to ride Grilla and he said he would love me to.”
Hollick, who used to ride in the UAE, said he could not compare Sand Witchh and Grilla.

“They are two fantastic race horses,” he said.

“Sand Witchh was an unbelievable horse to ride and I don’t think we got the best out of her. Grilla proved today that he is also a top class champion.”


Already a multi-graded winner, Grilla will now go to Delaware Park where the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup will be upgraded to Grade Two status.

“Owners here in the US feel the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup in Delaware is one of the biggest Purebred Arabian races and this year the race is to be upgraded from a Grade Three to Grade Two status,” said Lara Sawaya, director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.