Abu Dhabi: Rasikh and Saher, both owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, registered a brilliant 1-2 finish in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup race held in Avenches in Switzerland on Sunday.
Rasikh, trained by Jean Pierre Totain was brilliantly ridden by Freddy Di Fede to beat Saher, trained by Robert Litt and ridden by Mathias Sautieau in Sunday’s race which was part of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.
After Sayf withdrew on the eve of the race, it was the two runners owned by Shaikh Mansour taking on two Swiss raiders — Nil Ishan Ibn Al Sakbe and Nil Karazi.
Saher did all the early running with Rasikh just off the pace but after Nil Ishan Ibn Al Sakbe threatened as they entered the homestretch it was a two-horse battle. Rasikh got the better of Saher in the final furlong of the 1600-metre race to win by a length in 1:51.90.
Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart, Swiss Ambassador to the UAE, was present and said: “Avenches has the most modern race track and infrastructure for all kinds of horse sport in Switzerland. I am pleased Abu Dhabi and Shaikh Mansour have chosen Avenches as the venue for their race in Switzerland.”
Lara Sawaya, director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, said: “Like last year the Avenches race was watched by a large crowd and this has been an encouraging factor. Today’s race was held along with some of the most famous trot races here in Switzerland and that provided some good publicity for Arabian racing.”
Representing the official carrier of the Festival, Nicolas Tanner, Emirates Sales Manager, Geneva, said, “Emirates has a great affinity with horse racing and the sport is integral to our portfolio of sports sponsorships around the world. This event in Avenches provides another channel to reach out to our customers who can now fly with Emirates from Geneva, as well as Zurich.”
Stephen Bowey, executive director of Invest AD, said: “It was great to see the exciting finish in today’s race and it is such exciting action which enhances the status of the Arabian race horses and bring them closer to the racing fans.”
The Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Arabian Horse Society with Emirates airlines as the official carrier and support from Invest AD, Areej Al Ameerat, La Sirene, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2012, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.