Wathba Cup races in Al Ain too, Equine Hospital planned for Western

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During the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s World Arabian Horse Racing Conference held in Warsaw in May, a large number of the UAE connections of Purebred Arabian racing had raised many issues and the Festival had decided to provide a platform for them in the UAE.

As a result of that The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Friends Committee (representing Purebred Arabian Horse Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Jockeys) was formed on Saturday, August 1, 2015.

HE Matar Suhail Al Yabhouni, Board Member and Chairman of the Equestrian sport in the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), addressed the members of the new body at the Anantara Hotel with Sheikh Hamed Bin Khadim Al Hamed also in attendance.

The meeting thanked HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs for his support and for creating another avenue to boost Purebred Arabian racing.

Both HE Al Yabhouni and Ms Sawaya urged members of the Festival’s Friends Committee to join hands and ensure all the aims and the vision of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, are fulfilled.

“We are all friends of the Festival and have passion for the Arabian horse, and without togetherness and mutual cooperation and respect to each other, we won’t be able to stage successful events,” Ms Sawaya said.

She urged the members to express their ideas and views with utmost transparency, faithfulness and honesty and also announced few decisions from the Festival’s side.

“The Wathba Stud Farm Cup will be staged at Al Ain Racecourse under the umbrella of the Festival with effect from the upcoming racing season, in the same pattern of the equivalent races at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and all terms and conditions, including the breeders’ bonus, apply,” Ms Sawaya said. The Festival staged 15 Wathba Stud Farm Cup races in Abu Dhabi last season.

The UAE breeders, owners and trainers welcomed the move and said this will further boost Arabian racing in the UAE and thanked HH Sheikh Mansoor for the initiative.

Among other issues raised by the members during the meeting, one of the most important was their plea for the establishment of an equine hospital in the Western Region as at present the breeders and owners were suffering due to the fact that Sharjah Equine Hospital is 400km away and was a huge hurdle to take ailing horses so far.

Al Yabhouni confirmed that all arrangements were on to build a fully-equipped equine hospital courtesy of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.

“All feasibility studies, plans and funds are in hand to start the construction work as soon as possible,” he confirmed.

Regarding track conditions at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club racecourse, Al Yabhouni promised to take up the matter with Mr. Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the racecourse, to replace the turf track. Many owners and trainers felt the prevailing track conditions caused plenty of injuries to their horses.


Other proposals from breeders and owners from the Eastern Coast took centre stage in the discussions, and Al Yabhouni promised to refer the matter to the officials, particularly the lack of tracks, equine hospital and clubs.

Leading horse breeder and owner Khalid Al Naboodah urged the meeting to adopt his proposal of making amendments to the breeding calendar to start from October instead of March in the light of the hot weather conditions.

He said: “This could be implemented over three to four years because the hot and humid weather conditions from April onwards deprive breeders from taking advantage of the short winter period to bring up foals capable of competing against foreign-bred horses.

Finally, it has been agreed to activate the respective roles of the UAE Arabian Horse Society and the UAE Breeders Society in the light of the strong criticism that has been directed by the breeders and owners regarding the two bodies.

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 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, National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC, 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 and Laboratoires Fadia Karam Cosmetics.