Festival unveils two grand events in Houston over next two days
The Sam Houston Park race course and the JW Marriott Hotel in Houston have rolled out the red carpet for the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s two significant events on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday March 10 respectively.
On Saturday the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Group 2) race and the HH Sheikha F atima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) will see some of the top horses racing in the US compete for glory in these two prestigious races.
On Sunday, the Purebred Arabian racing fraternity will gather at the JW Marriott Hotel at 7.30 pm when the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival will present the 26th Annual Darley Awards 26th and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards.
The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, a Group 2 contest to be run over a mile’s distance and a small but quality field will start in the US$ 30,000 race.
Top owner Sam Vasquez has entered Golly Bret and Lacy Vaz, both strong contenders while So Big Is Better, Krossfire, VIP and Al Waed complete the strong line-up.
Prior to the Sheikh Zayed Cup, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) over seven furlongs will once again test the skills of lady jockeys with US$ 25,000 making it the richest race for lady jockeys in the US.
The UAE’s amateur jockey Shathra Al Hajaj, will be riding Ta Dance Withthe Star while among the fancied entries are Well Liked, DC Willeys Song, BR Funny Money and Tikis Shadow. Twelve amateur lady jockeys from around the world will partner horses picked through lots in the race.
“Both the races on Saturday and our support for the 26th Annual Darley Awards 26th and the HH Sheikha Fat ima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards are within our framework to spread Purebred Arabian racing which is part of the UAE’s heritage and Culture,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
Noora Al Suwaidi, Secretary General, UAE General Women’s Union, Chairman of the UAE Women’s Sports Committee and Member of the UAE Olympic Committee said, “The initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood the Festival has already left its mark.
Last year in this race here in Houston Omani lady jockey Fatima Al Manji and UAE’s Shathra Al Hajaj finished first and third respectively.
We wish all lady jockeys success in Saturday’s race.”
Mohammed Al Mahmood, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council said, “Our support for all sports is a well known fact but when it comes to equestrian sport in which the UAE has had so much success, we are always willing to help and support them further.”
“This weekend is a very important one in the calendar of events of the Festival.
Saturday’s races have attracted quality fields and with a large turnout expected the Purebred Arabian horses get a chance to display their racing ability,” said Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and Head of Ladies Racing at IFAHR.
“On Sunday the Festival will make its presence felt in what is called the ‘Oscars of Arabian racing’. Further the introduction of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards was well received and this year there is a lot of anticipation with regard to this as it honours women in Purebred Arabian racing from around the world.
All arrangements have been completed and we are expecting a great evening to honours America’s best and the world’s best,” Ms Sawaya said.
The HH 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 Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare and Fegentri with Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Arabtec Holding PJSC, SAS Investment, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Al Awani Genera l Enterprises, Kabale, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2013, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.