It was a Miss Karen van den Bos show in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival as the Dutch trainer celebrated with a double as thousands of Swedes marked their National Day at the Gardet in the Royal National City Park in Stockholm city.
In fact van den Bos also scored a double here in Stockholm in 2011 when Athlete Del Sol and Serouda Du Breuil won and on Friday, it was again Athlete Del Sol under Carlos Lopez that won the H. H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Listed) race. Sartejano under Jacob Johansen and Ghazal T under Andreas Helfenbein finished second and third respectively in the 1500-metre Listed contest.
Van den Bos then followed it up with a magnificent double when Australian Robyn Freeman-Key on Alibaba Del Sol scored a thumping 9-length win in the H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR race, which for the first time had a all-professional lady jockeys’ line-up and raced over 2750 metres. Al Janoob under English lady jockey Rachael Kneller and Canadian debutant Janine Ellen Smith on Neira Royal came second and third respectively.
A jubilant van den Bos hailed Alibaba Del Sol, the 9-year-old having also won on the frozen ‘White Turf’ ice track in St Moritz in Switzerland earlier this year. “My horses were in great condition and Alibaba Del Sol at nine still wants to run, wants to win. It has been tough for them, travelling for over three days to come here but they were just superb and we enjoyed racing in front of this record crowd,” van den Bos said.
“This is the first time I have ever ridden an Arabian horse and it was such a pleasing experience with the win making it a memorable series debut,” said the 33-year-old Freeman-Key, who notched her 401st winner.
“I am super excited to having clinched a berth in the Abu Dhabi finale and I am looking forward to that race,” said the Australian, who has also raced and won in Macau and South Africa.
Freeman-Key will now join the winners of the previous HH Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR races held so far this year- Irish lady jockey Evanna McCutcheon (Oman winner); UK’s Alyson Deniel (Australia); Prod’Home Pauline of France (Switzerland); Sandee D. Martin of USA (Houston, USA); Keumjoo Lee of South Korea (Morocco); Victoria Allers of Norway (Toulouse, France); Jadey Pletrasiewicz of The Netherlands (Germany) and Brazilian Jeane Alves (Newbury, UK).
HE Sheikha Najla Al Qassimi, the UAE Ambassador to Sweden attended the races and gave away the trophies to the winners.
“This race meeting has been remarkable and the largest audience ever to watch a Purebred Arabian race here in Sweden. This success is testimonial to the huge interest that the of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival has been attracting in all races, wherever they are held,” HE Sheikha Najla Al Qassimi said.
Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of 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) said, “Today’s race meeting was a perfect advertisement for Purebred Arabian racing. With nearly 50,000 fans in attendance the Festival’s two races were the showcase events of the afternoon amidst perfect weather conditions.”
“With the participation of the Canadian lady jockey Janine Ellen Smith, the number of countries that have taken part in our ground-breaking H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR race series for lady jockeys has now reached 54. This truly reflects the success of the series as well as the Festival,” Ms Sawaya added.
The Festival’s next stop will be in the Netherlands on June 22.
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.