The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Wathba Stud Farm Cup made a memorable debut at the Al Ain racecourse and the victory of Latifa Princess saddled by Veronica Aske added another chapter to the Festival’s success.
The Norwegian Aske, who made her first trip to Abu Dhabi as a participant in the Festival’s HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship a couple of years ago, soon took to training and now in her very first race as a Trainer she struck at the Al Ain race course on Friday, November 20.
It was the first race of the Wathba Stud Farm Cup series in Al Ain and the Faisal Seddiq Al Muwata-owned Latifa Princess under Sam Hitchcott won the Dh 75,000, 1000-metre Handicap for Purebred Arabians.
Latifa Princess and Hitchcott blasted out the gates and never looked in any trouble throughout the dash up the sprint course.
At the halfway point, Hitchcott was motionless but those in behind were visibly toiling. Soon after, the jockey let out an inch of rein and the race was over.
Aske, saddling her first runner and ending up in the winner’s enclosure, said “We were quite hopeful,” “She is a lovely mare with plenty of speed and goes well on the dirt so had plenty in her favour,” said Aske, who spent a couple of years as Assistant Trainer with Ernst Oertel in the UAE.
Al Ain’s season-opener on Friday afternoon also saw HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, win three races.
Nacer Samiri who, having opened his account with a double at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, first scored with the HH Sheikh Mansoor-owned Haizoom in a 1400m maiden.
Patrick Dobbs on Haajeb gave Samiri and HH Sheikh Mansoor a second win and in the final race Samiri completed his treble with Eskandar and Jose Santiago hanging on grimly from the late challenge of Babel D’Aillas. All three of the trainer’s winners are owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) said, “This is really a great start to the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners here in Al Ain. We are also elated that Veronica Aske has graduated from jockey to a winning trainer and the Festival has a role in that success.”
“Like in Abu Dhabi, we will be staging one race in Wathba Stud Farm Cup for Private Owners series here in Al Ain in all the ten meetings to be held in the 2015-16 UAE racing season,” Ms Sawaya said after the prize distribution on Saturday.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels, Racing Post, Paris Turf and Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics.