The 17th General Assembly meeting of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), which was held at the Le Meridien Hotel in Paris on Monday, October 6 gave an additional responsibility to Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in IFAHR as Chairman of Apprentice Jockeys and Racing in IFAHR.
Apart from this added responsibility on Ms Sawaya, the IFAHR meeting admitted two new members – Iran and Portugal; accepted and approved the rules of the Pattern Racing Committee and took a huge step forward with the creation of the IFAHR International Agreement which aims to find a common set of standards that most countries can agree upon between them.
Mr. Sami Jassim Al Boenain, Chairman of IFAHR said, “Thanks to the support of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, IFAHR and Arabian Racing have made tremendous progress in the recent past. Lara as Executive Director of the Festival has through her passion and genuine love for Arabian horses brought about huge improvement in Arabian racing, Ladies racing and Apprentice jockeys. We congratulate her on the additional responsibility and wish her the best.”
Commenting on the IFAHR International Agreement, Al Boenain said, “It was decided in 2013 to create this agreement for all members and this has now been done. We will distribute it in its present form to all Racing Authorities in IFAHR member countries via IFAHR members.”
“This agreement allows each member country to choose what articles they accept and in this way at least all trainers, owners, sponsors etc will get a clear view on the situation in each country,” the IFAHR chief added.
Ms Lara Sawaya said, “ We owe all success of the Festival to HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs and 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 for their whole-hearted support.”
“Being named Chairman of Apprentice Jockeys and Racing in IFAHR is a new challenge and we are ready to take it on,” she said.
“According to HH Sheikh Mansoor’s and HH Sheikha Fatima’s vision, the focus on Apprentice jockeys will help develop a new generation. Our focus will be on apprentice schools and lady jockeys while the initial aim of promoting Arabian racing will still be the driving force,” Ms Sawaya said.
Mr Wieger Joost de Ruiter, IFAHR Treasurer underlined the tremendous progress in IFAHR after the support of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival and Qatar. “Slovakia will be joining IFAHR soon and they already have a track and also have Arabian races. It will also open up doors to other East European countries and IFAHR and Arabian racing is all set to grow further at a swift pace.”
IFAHR Secretary Mats Genberg said the IFAHR International Agreement brings together a series of Articles, setting out recommended best practice in significant areas of racing and stud book administration common to all jurisdictions.
The Articles include Definition of a Purebred Arabian Horse; Eligibility to Race; Embryo Transfer; Racing Ages; Export Certificate; Registration of Names; Use of a Suffix showing the country of Foaling and Arabian Pattern Race and Handicapper Committee Rules.
IFAHR Vice Chairman Genny Haynes of the United Kingdom said, “We are looking forward to the success of the International Agreement and hopefully by the end of the year we will know where we stand. This will give clarity of conditions prevalent in different conditions.”
Mr Ahmad Al Hammadi, IFAHR Board Member representing the UAE congratulated Ms Sawaya on her new position and said much of the recent success was a direct result of the efforts of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.
Frenchman Mr Yves Plantin, IFAHR Honorary Member who was one of the founders of the organisation said, “The IFAHR International Agreement is a highly positive move forward. Each country will have its own rules but as far as bloodlines are concerned the minimum requirement is to maintain the integrity of racing.”
American representative Ms Kathryn K. Smoke, President of the Arabian Jockey Club in the US said the International Agreement was the best thing to come out of IFAHR. “It is an excellent idea and we will now know where each country stands.”
“The HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival and Qatar’s initiatives have made a huge difference to IFAHR in recent years,” she said.
Susanna Santesson, FEGENTRI representative and one of Germany’s ardent Arabian racing official said, “The appointment of Ms Lara Sawaya as Chairman of Apprentice Racing will be a huge boost to young aspiring jockeys and lady jockeys. The focus will be on Racing Training Schools in various continents.”
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with Arabtec Holding PJSC as the Official Partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Rashid Investment, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2014, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Abu Dhabi Sports Channel and Racing Post.