With the Americans in a celebratory mood over a long week-end that marks their July 4 National Day, the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival will make its presence felt in two cities here in the USA.
While eight quality runners will vie for the Festival’s Wathba Strud Farm Cup in Arapahoe in Colorado, the two feature events of the Festival will be worked off at the popular Pleasanton race course in California on Saturday.
Last year’s winner Sammy V, fresh from his win in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup (COBRA Sprint at Arapahoe Park) will be starting off as the favourite to win the Sheikh Zayed Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, a Graded Stakes event in Pleasanton.
Sammy V’s toughest challenge is likely to come from the Helen Shelley-trained Ayers in the six-furlong contest which carries a total prize purse of US $47,845 with six other contenders in the fray.
In the H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race, a six-furlong contest for a total prize purse of US$ 40,800, ten lady jockeys from round the world will be scrambling to win and clinch a berth in the same event’s finale in Abu Dhabi.
After finishing second to Sammy V in Arapahoe Park, trainer Scott Powell pins his hope on Ms Dixie, expecting the 6-year-old gray mare to win in the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Stakes.
Ms Dixie, a two-time Darley Award winner will be starting off as the one to beat under Italian Giado Menata, with One Hot Chick under Catherine Burr from Switzerland and Vas Djets under German lady jockey Larissa Biess will be the ones to watch in the final frame.
Oman’s Azhar Wardi will be riding My Hemi Magnum and the Gulf rider said, “Much depends on the horse. I will go there and give it my best. I want to win and qualify for the Abu Dhabi finale”
In Colorado, Lil Rich Girl, Sand On Fire and RB Rich are expected to vie for a slice of the prize fund in Frisay’s Wathba Strud Farm Cup race, the third to be held in Arapahoe this year.
“Almost every year the Festival has a race here in the US during their July 4 celebrations and this year we have some of the best Purebred Arabians contesting in the three races in Pleasanton and Colorado,” said 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 at the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR).
“The vision and support of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Deputy Prime Minister 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 and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Mother of the World is now reaping positive results,” she added.
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.