H.H. Sheikh Mansoor Festival provides world first for ARO and Newbury

Details of the fifth anniversary World Arabian Horseracing Conference and races worth a total of £100,000 were outlined at a press briefing held at The Racecourse Newbury today and hosted by Lara Sawaya, Director, H.H. Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.

The UK will provide the venue for the 2014 renewal of the event which was launched in Abu Dhabi in 2010 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and has since visited Holland (The Hague), Germany (Berlin) and France (Toulouse).

The World Arabian Horse Racing Conference 2014 will run over five days beginning on Wednesday, 28 May and will comprise three days of seminars at St James Theatre, London followed by racing at The Racecourse Newbury on Saturday, 31 May and a proposed endurance ride from The Racecourse on Sunday, 1 June. The official event hotel, The Royal Garden, Kensington is expected to welcome in the region of 400 delegates from all over the world.

The fifth and final day of the event it is proposed will see the first ever running of the H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies CEIO Two star 120k endurance race starting and finishing at The Racecourse and taking in the surrounding countryside.

Lara Sawaya said, “This is a very special year for us as we celebrate the fifth World Arabian Horseracing Conference. We will have five events over five days to celebrate our five years. We will have the conference, two Arabian races, an Endurance race and our gala dinner. It will be the biggest gathering of world Arabian racing organisations ever to be held.

“The H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) is now in its third running at Newbury, but the proposed Ladies CEIO 120km two star Ladies Endurance Ride will be something new for this year and we hope many people will come and see this fascinating sport.”

In addition to the UK leg of the H.H. Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) which has generously been given a 50% increase in prize money to £30,000, ARO has also been granted H.H. Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (conditions to be confirmed) staged for the first time in the UK.

Part of an important 12-race international series for Pure Bred Arabians the H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup would become the second most valuable Arabian race in the UK with a total prize fund of £70,000.

Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) Director Genny Haynes said, “It is very exciting for us to have the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference coming to the UK. It brings together representatives from all sections of the industry under the IFAHR banner and from all over the world.

“The global Arabian racing community is constantly growing and we are very much looking forward to showcasing UK Arabian Racing on the international stage.”

Speaking in Abu Dhabi earlier this month when plans for a Ladies Endurance World Championship in the UK were first revealed, John Robertson a member of the Board of Directors of Endurance GB said, “We hope to be able to stage a race under FEI rules for international teams of five lady riders aged 14 and up with seven horses in which the top three will score.

“The race would be over 120k in four loops of varying distances, the longest being about 38k and the shortest would be about 20k and that will give is three vet gates and a finish.

“This race represents a first for FEI, a first for Endurance GB and a first for the sport world-wide.”

The Racecourse Newbury is home to Arabian racing in the UK and in addition to providing the venue for the flagship Dubai International Arabian Race Day, also stages more single races on thoroughbred cards than any other course in Britain.

Managing Director Racecourse and Events, Stephen Higgins said, “We are very proud of our relationship with Arabian racing and are honoured to be playing a key role in next year’s World Arabian Horseracing Conference.

“The value of the Arabian races we will stage is significant by comparison with other major Arabian races in the UK and the rest of Europe, and to be associated with a world first in the running of the proposed H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies CEIO 120km two star Endurance Ride. is a unique honour for The Racecourse.”