Houston: William Hollick brilliantly rode five-year-old Grilla to win the Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Grade 3) race for Purebred Arabians at the Sam Houston Race Park in Houston on Saturday.
The Festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) in association with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and in co-ordination with Emirates Arabian Horse Society.
Trained and owned by Bill Waldron, Grilla led from start to finish registering a two length win from second-placed TM Fred Texazs with a fine time of 1:47.14 second while winning the $ 20,000 race from seven other runners.
Prominent jockey Hollick said he was very happy to win the ride as it is after a long break the horse is participating in a ride. “He was always in control and he is a super horse.”
Grilla was the favourite having registered five wins and a second place in seven starts before this race. Grilla’s best win was when he defeated Sanddwitch, in the President of the UAE Cup in Keeneland racecourse in Kentucky in 2010. He was also adjudged the best Purebred Arabian horse (four-year-olds) in America in the same year.
The Festival’s races are sponsored by Invest AD, Areej Al Ameerat, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2011,Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
Owner-cum-trainer Waldron said: “We will see how he comes out of this race and then we may run him in the next Sheikh Mansour Festival race in Delaware on July 2 for a hat-trick of wins.”
It was the Festival’s debut race in Texas and was the opening race for the 2011 season. From here the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup moves to Toulouse in France. After that the series will visit Duindigt in The Netherlands, Delaware Park in the US, Berlin in Germany, Frankfurt in Germany, Warzloviec in Poland, Croan in France and finally end in Abu Dhabi.
Abdul Rehman Ahmed Al Jaber, representative of the UAE Embassy in the US, attended the race meeting and also distributed the trophies. Also present were Lara Sawaya, Director of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, Texas Arabian Breeder’s Association President Ed Wilson, Martial Boisseuil, Racing Consultant of Wathba Stud Farm and Waleed El Moughraby, the Festival’s Financial Controller from ADACH.
“Grilla is currently one of the top Arabian horses and its winning of this race proves the quality of the field that this debut race has attracted,” said Sawaya.
“Owners here in the US feel the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup in Delaware is one of the biggest Purebred Arabian races and this year the race is likely to be upgraded from a Grade 3 to Grade 2 status,” she added.