His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE finished as the leading owner with 13 winners while Eric Lemartnel and Tadhg O’Shea with 15 winners each topped the trainer’s and jockeys’ pack respectively for the Abu Dhabi racing season 2011-12.
At an impressive end-of-season party organised by the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, the winners of the Abu Dhabi racing season, the Wathba Stud Farm Cup Series and the Darley Award for the Tipping competition were all held at the ADEC club house on Sunday night.
Eric Lemartinel and Gerald Avranche emerged as the Top Trainer and Top Jockey in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup race series for Private Owners which concluded at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday night.
Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah won both the Best Breeder (three wins) and the Best Owner (four wins) awards in the 15-race Wathba Stud Farm Cup race series, which is part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.
In a thrilling competition which went down to the wire Amit Passela of The National (212 points) finished ahead of M. Satyanarayan of the Gulf News (208) points while Al Ittihad Arabic newspaper’s Issam Sayed Salih was third with 206 points. Journalists covering the races were involved in the Tipping Competition with a win fetching them 5 points, a second place 2 points and a third one point.
Apart from the awards ceremony, all representatives of the sponsors of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and various officials involved in the flat racing season of the capital were all honoured at the gala dinner.
“For us at the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival it is very important to encourage Private Owners in the UAE and hence the Wathba Stud Farm Cup series is very high on our list,” said Abdullah Al Qubaisi, representing the organisers Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
“We have witnessed some very high level of action and quality racing and this season’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup series in Abu Dhabi has ended on a highly successful note,” Al Qubaisi saiud.
“It was a great season-ending party in which almost all those associated with the success of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival attended which included the top winners over the entire 15-race series,” said Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.
“The Wathba Stud Farm Cup races in Abu Dhabi this year has been of a very high stanrd and we have seen Group 1 horses like Nieshan and Rabah De Carrere take part and win. We have also this season seen a lady jockey Saleema Al Taleei also win a Wathba Stud Farm Cup race while Emirati trainers had a fair share of the success,” she said.
The H.H Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Arabian Horse Society and IFAHR, supported by General Authority for Youth and Sports and Fegentri with Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Mauzan, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2012, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.