Sheikh Mansoor festival stages four endurance races across Europe

Abu Dhabi – The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is set to stage four endurance events across the European continent, including the 120km FEI HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship, it was revealed on Sunday.

“Under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAEv Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the endurance and flat races will be combined together under the umbrella of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival,” said Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and chairman of the Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR).

Speaking to newsmen at the Eastern Mangroves hotel Suite 321 at the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival Lounge, Sawaya said: “I would like above all to thank the Portuguese ambassador to the UAE Jimmy Van Zeller Laitau for coming, pointing out that the festival has started sponsoring endurance races last year and it is carrying on for the second season.”

“The four countries which will be the venue of the festival’s races are France, Italy, Portugal and Slovakia. And we are directed by of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed to observe and abide with the rules and regulations of the FEI in all our activities,” she said.

“The HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance World Championship in Italy which carries the name of the ‘Mother of the UAE’ is the first FEI competition for ladies in the world thanks to the strong support of Her Highness. We are taking 15 UAE ladies to take part in the four races. Currently we are negotiating with a fifth endurance governing body in another country to be included in the calendar and in the event of a successful conclusion of our efforts, the umbrella of the festival will be extended to cover five championships. But, for the time being, discussions are underway with the FEI to introduce points’ pattern to the four competitions to become something like the Triple Crown, though it is comprised of four rounds to remunerate all participants. This is going to be useful for the countries which host the championships and encourage the breeders, owners and connections of the Purebred Arabian horses,” she said.

“We will establish strong presence in Compiègne for the second time to sponsor the 120km and 160km events. Portugal has been added to the agenda thanks to the well established relationships between UAE and Portugal and the helpful assistance of the UAE ambassador to Lisbon and Portuguese ambassador to Abu Dhabi.

“Furthermore, Mohammed Al Hadhrami and Dr. Rola Shaheen will be among the judges and veterinaries respectively to interact with the international endurance community. Slovakia will be the venue for the fourth race and the festival will be there to lend a hand to the growing endurance and racing community in that part of the old continent,” she added.

Ian Williams, FEI endurance director said: “The endurance rules and regulations have been designed to accommodate and encourage all the family members to create a true sporting environment and the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance World Championship is the best opportunity to push forward this trend.

“We are truly obliged to the vision of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan to support the equine sport and upgrade the standards of performance in this discipline. We are here to work on this initiative to develop the work relationship with the festival,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Wahlen, representing France, Diego Albiero from Italy, Rogerio Da Silva of Portugal and Roelof Roux of Slovaia, spoke on behalf of the endurance governing bodies in the host countries of the four races. They have all expressed their delight to be in Abu Dhabi to watch the President Cup and attend this important news conference. Portugal hosts the first event from April 25 to 27, France from May 23 to 27, Italy from July 25 to 27 and Slovakia on September 27.

Nadim Lahad, representing Emirates Airline noted that they are not mere transporters of the festival, but they are part of its success.

“With our growing network, we are shouldering the responsibility of carrying the message and vision of the festival to the rest of the world,” he said.

Mubarak Al Nuaimi, reiterated the determination of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority to provide the highest level of support and backing to the festival throughout the year and around the world.

Manar Al Hanai said they are committed in the Invest AD to the cause and the vision of the festival and they are delighted to share its development and progress.

Ashraf Zeitoun admitted that they are honoured in Arabtec Holding PJSC to be associated with the festival and they will continue to be part of it.

Ahmed Al Fahim, said that Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) will remain as partners of the festival which has covered a considerable segment of the globe and presented Abu Dhabi and the UAE as an important business and tourist hub.

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), 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.