Abu Dhabi: Sand De Wind and Qjuick Sand PW finished 1-2 for owner-trainer Hellen Shelley in the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Grade III) on Saturday.
The Zayed Cup was run on a card of 10 races at the Saturday Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, California, and Sand De Wind, the son of Burning Sand, took the largest piece of the $20,000 prize money, followed by another Shelley-trained Burning Sand son, Qjuick Sand PW 1 1/4 lengths behind.
The third under the wire, the Kador De Blaziet colt, Golly Bret fell back in the stretch and finished over three lengths behind the leader. The six-furlong race on dirt was contested by eight horses who had come from across the US to vie for the top prize.
Shelly, who won the Wathba Stud Farm Cup race last year with So Big Is Better here in Pleasanton, was thrilled to be in the winner’s circle again.
“We are going to make other breeds sit up and take notice of the Arabian horse. Sand De Wind just came from Colorado and this was a big surprise. We did set a new track record last year and that horse has gone on to bigger things with Scott Powell of Quarter Moon Ranch,” Shelly said.
Jockey Barrington Harvey was already off to the barn to find his mount for the next race, but Shelly gave him the a positive review for the ride. “Barry is a go to guy. If you can give him a horse that can do it, he will. That’s why we decided to put him on this horse.”
Lara Sawaya, Director of the Festival and Head of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) Ladies Racing, announced that next year the total prize money for the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup will be raised to $30,000.
In addition, the Fair will also witness the $25,000 Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race, the richest women’s event in the world and presented for the first time in California.
“The Ladies Cup will have 12 girls, one a professional rider,” said Sawaya. “We have given this race to California as the Fair is very well organised and the crowd is nice. California needs a lot of support for Arabian racing and the Festival will give support.”
Randy Magee, Chief Financial Office of the Alameda County Fair, said: “The Arabians bring another element to our racing. The beautiful horses, the pageantry, the costumes; everyone enjoys this. We are trying to grow racing and it is great to have more Arabian racing.”
Jeanne Wasserman said: “Our overall Fair attendance should register about 35,000 today. I’m very excited about the Ladies Championship race.”