Qatar raider Majeed under Gaetan Faucon won the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Group 3) race in a thrilling finish while Ziyadd, owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs emerged as the new European Triple Crown winner.
In one of the most hotly-contested races held under the umbrella of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Majeed prevailed in a close finish over Sir Bani Yas under Julien Auger at the Duindigt race course in The Netherlands on Sunday.
The two grey Arabians battled stride for stride in the final 50 metres before Majeed forged ahead to win the 1900-metre race and carry away a major slice of the Euros 35,000 on offer in the Group 3 contest.
Lightning Bolt under Richard Mullen finished third despite the jockey filing a protest for intervention by the winner but the Stewards ruled the race was fair and Majeed and Sir Bani Yas stayed first and second.
Meanwhile, Ziyadd under Pierantonio Convertino seemed to have left in late but did well to finish in the top half, collect the 5-points which helped the 4-year-old to emerge as the new European Triple Crown champion.
Trained by Antoine Watrigant for owner HH Sheikh Mansoor, Ziyadd had won the previous leg in Rome and had also finished fourth to Muraaqib in the first leg in Toulouse to finish with 18 points while Sir Bani Yas and Lightning Bolt ended up with 13 points each.
The HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race over 1800 metres was also run on Sunday and Norway’s Silja Storen on L’Eau du Tigre showed her class in the final stages to finished ahead of Fajr Qardabiyah under Carol Bartley from Great Britain while Janine Smith from Canada on Raya C ran into third place.
Storen has now qualified to race in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship finale on November 6 and the Norwegian from Oslo said she was delighted with the win. “Thanks to HH Sheikh Mansoor and the Festival for providing us with these opportunities to race,” she said.
Praising her horse L’Eau du Tigre, Storen said, “What an amazing horse. Got a super race on the inside, going third. When I got an opening on the inside I told her to go and she cruised home. I had to look back several times to ensure I was safe. Loveliest ride!”
Apart from the two premier races of the Festival, the Wathba Stud Farm Cup II which caters to the grassroots level was also held on Sunday. James D.A ridden by Belgian Anna van den Troost won the 1800-metre race with Rodin under Anthony Deau and Saqlawia under Julien Auger finishing second and third respectively.
HH Saeed Ali Al Nowais, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director general of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) and Margreet de Ruiter of the Dutch Arabian Racing gave away the trophies to the winners of the three races.
Also in attendance were envoys from Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Abohaimed – Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the Hague; from Palestine HE Dr. Nabil Abuznaid; from Egypt HE Taher Farhat; from Libya HE Breik A. B. Swessi; from Morocco HE Abdul Wahab Bluki, from Jordan HE Ahmed Mufleh, from Pakistan HE Mazen Ahmed Khan and from India, HE J.S Mukul.
HH Saeed Ali Al Nowais and Ms Lara Sawaya thanked all the envoys from friendly countries who attended the races and also congratulated HH Sheikh Mansoor on his horse Ziyadd winning the European Triple Crown.
“I was in Rome for the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference organized by the Festival and it was a great experience. The UAE and HH Sheikh Mansoor are doing a great job of not only promoting Arabian horse racing but also keeping alive a UAE tradition,” HE Al Nowais said.
“Today’s race meeting was of the highest quality and both The Netherlands and the UAE share a common goal in Arabian horse racing,” he said.
Ms Lara Sawaya said, “The last four years the European Triple Crown in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan series was won by one horse-Ameretto. Now e have a new champion in the 4-year-old Ziyadd. The European Triple Crown in Europe and the Triple Jewel in the US are two great race series’ in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup and have gained in quality and popularity.”
“We also remember and thank the late Mr. Wieger de Ruiter who was Head of Arabian Racing and a friend of the Festival and helped in promoting our races here in The Netherlands including the WAHRC in The Hague,” Ms Sawaya said.
“The Festival is growing in stature and we will be announcing a major partner towards the end of the year,” she added.
The VIP guests later visited a Photo Exhibition organized by Morhaf El Asaf, who displayed his pictures capturing various aspects of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival.
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, IPIC as Strategic Partner, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Al Aweer Stables, Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, 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 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.