Khaleej Times: Stage set for Casablanca

ABU DHABI — The fourth round of the HH Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Fegentry Cup will be held in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on May 4 under its new name HH Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR), it was announced during a special news conference which was held at the Abu Dhabi Exhibitions Centre on Saturday.

The Press conference was held under the directives of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

“We have already run three races since the start of the year and all those will be included as part of this Ladies World Championship. To start with we have earmarked a prize fund of €50,000 and this will go to the club or country whose jockeys have amassed the most points through the nine races before the final race in Abu Dhabi on November 4.

“Points, five each for participating, and three, two and one point respectively for the first three positions will be given to the riders but these will go to the club or country they represent,” said Lara Sawaya, director of the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.
“At the end the club or country, be it amateur or professional, will be given this prize money of €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000 for the top three respectively,” she said.

“The most important aspect is these races will now be open and we will be inviting at least one professional lady jockey to take part,” she said.
“All winners of the first nine races and a few invited lady jockeys will then be invited to race in the HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi racing season which is likely to be November 4, 2012,” Sawaya said.

“And the winner of this final race will drive away with a spanking new car,” Sawaya announced.

Abdullah Al Qubaisi of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority welcomed the world championship for lady riders and said, “The Festival has achieved so much in three years and through this championship I can further state that we have moved from words to deeds in enhancing the Arabian racing and promoting women jockeys.”
“We will be giving more details of the championship but for now it is a huge shift from being an amateurs? race series only to a more open event,” said Sami Al Boenian, Chairman of IFAHR who thanked the strong support and the backing of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

Talal Al Hashimi of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Khalid Bel Jaflah; Emirates vice-president, Commercial Sales (UAE); Stephen Bowey, executive director, Marketing, Invest AD; May Al Absi, PR and Media representative of General Women’s Union; also addressed the Press conference and welcomed the innovative additions to the festival’s race series.

The Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organised 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 Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2012, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.