Gulf News: Boost for Scandinavian breeding

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Malmo Mats Genberg, Chairman of the Scandinavian Arabian Racing Association (Sara), has said Sweden’s inclusion into the the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is of huge significance to Scandinavian breeders.

The three-tiered festival which is on its third year from its inception includes the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup and the Shaikha Fatma Bint Mubarak Ladies Fagentri, as well as the Wathba Stud farm Cup.

The latter event makes its Swedish debut at Jagercro race-track in Malmo today. It is the fourth race of 21 international stages and the first of two this season that will grace Swedish shores. The next will be in Stockholm on August 28.

Shaikh Mansour’s vision is to support and encourage Arabian breeders globally to strengthen and continue their traditions.

Solid foundation

Genberg said: “There’s a long-standing 30-year tradition of Arabian racing in Sweden. We have 40 races a season, two of which are now sponsored by UAE, no race is below €3,000 (Dh15,804). So there is already a solid foundation here. Inclusion into Shaikh Mansour’s festival is not a lifebuoy in that sense but it is a very appreciated tap on the shoulder. We’ve always played a kid brother role up against thoroughbreds in European racing, but with this recognition we can finally get the chance to show what we can do.”

“With international recognition such as this we will hopefully become more accepted within the racing community, which in turn will help the sport grow. Trainers here are mostly enthusiasts, but there’s nothing to stop major thoroughbred owners getting an Arabian horse into their stables once they see the results. With an event such as this we stand a better chance of being on par with prominent thoroughbred trainers,” he added.

Lara Sawaya, Director of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, said: “The most important thing is that we have established a base in Sweden with this debut event from which we can grow and further encourage local Arabian breeders internationally.”

The Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organised by Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, in association with Emirates Arabian Horse Society.