Khaleej Times: Racing Festival organisers promise to help lady jockeys

DEN HAAG (NETHERLANDS) – Lara Sawaya, Director of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, pledged to provide more support to the women jockeys as part of their commitment towards women sports in the UAE and the Gulf region.

“The commitment of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to promote the Arabian horse worldwide goes step by step with the highly appreciated effort of the UAE General Women’s Union under the wise leadership and guidance of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak,” she told the audience during the morning session of the ongoing World Arabian Horse Racing Conference.

“We are exposing the UAE women riders to more experience thanks to the generous backing of the wise leadership of the country.

“There are no plans to spoil the riders. We provide them with the necessary education and knowledge to work their way through.

“Endurance races in the UAE receive the attention of the top leadership. And above all comes the encouragement and support of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak who honoured the women jockeys around the globe with the biggest prize-money allocated for the Shaikha bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentri Cup. “Plans are underway to give this race the global status as part of the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival. We will soon see women racing all over the world. The beginning will be from Abu Dhabi on November 6, where the ladies will kick off the 2011/ 2012 racing season in the UAE at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club,” she said.

“Arabian races have now covered most of the world to reach as far as California on the last point to the west of the US mainland. We will be hosting races at the Delwar Racecourse and the Ladies Fegentri Cup will follow in due course,” she promised. The issue of discrimination that women suffer in the US was also discussed by the speakers. It’s argued that, women trainers of Arabian horses are not treated on equal basis with the Thoroughbreds trainers. But Kathu Smoke said this is not true. “There’s no discrimination against woman in the sport. The racing community in the US is a Thoroughbreds domain.

“The discrimination, if any, happens because of the kind of horses that are available and not on sexual grounds. Arabian horse trainers look after different kind of horses and for this reason they receive different kind of treatment,” she said.

“And while it’s true that lady jockeys are ill treated in some cases by trainers who do not trust them or do not have any respect for their talent and ability, the future is ours,” she said.