Purebred Arabian horse connections experienced tremendous amount of pride as the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Arabian Awards and the US Darley Awards ceremony played out at the Dolby Theater in Highland Center, Hollywood, California on Friday, April 1, 2016.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and the US Darley Awards organized by the Arabian Racing Cup marked their fifth year of hosting the awards together and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Arabian Awards was increased to 15, giving it a truly international character.
Paddys Day was voted Horse of the Year as well as Best 4-year-old in the Darley Awards US category while Breeders and Owners Joseph and Betty Gillis, American trainer Lynn Ashby and American jockey Kelsi Purcell ended up as double winners at an impressive ceremony at the very venue where the Oscars were awarded just four weeks ago!
Earlier HE Abdulla Al Subose, UAE Consul General in Los Angeles welcomed the guests who had negotiated the Red carpet in true ‘Oscar’ style even as a large crowd curiously watched the large assembly for the Awards ceremony which not only acknowledged achievements of Purebred Arabian horses and their connections through the Darley US Awards but also recognized efforts on the global level by ladies involved in Purebred Arabian racing through the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley International Awards.
“With 81 countries involved in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, we are witnessing two eras involved in the promotion of Purebred Arabian horses in the UAE – one by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and now the second by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan!,” Al Suboose said.
Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary Aref Alawani said the Awards ceremony reflected the passion of the UAE in promoting Arabian racing in general and the focus on women by HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the Mother of the World.
IFAHR Chief Sami Al Boeinian hailed the support of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood in improving the status of women in racing. He also highlighted the huge role being played by Yas TV in promoting Arabian racing.
Elizabeth Zindel of Switzerland was given the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley (International) Lifetime Achievement Award by HE Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of International Promotion at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
The UAE envoy Al Subose also presented the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley (International) Best Filly award to Mabrooka, owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi received it on behalf of the UAE leader.
Joseph and Betty Gillis, who have owned and bred horses including Eastern Man, Jewell AA, Burning Fleet, Sand Victor and Extra Hope received both the Best Breeder and Best Owner award in the US Darley Awards while Easter Man earned them a third award for the night after being adjudged Best 3-year-old colt.
“It is nice to get these awards as we have been involved with Purebred Arabians for over 24 years now,” said Betty Gillis.
The Powell brothers were once again celebrating, Mark Powell’s So Big IS Better winning the Best Older Horse award for the third consecutive year and that too at the age of 11 while Scott’s Paddys Day earned bigger accolades.
Paddys Day, the Festival’s American Triple Jewel series winner in 2015, was named Horse of the Year as well as Best 4-year-old in the Darley Awards US category. Scott Powell said he was confident of a winning run for his horse in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards Stakes, a Grade 1 race to be held at the Santa Anita Park on Saturday, April 2.
Regular rider of Paddys Day, Kelsi Purcell also celebrated a double winning the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Best Professional Jockey Award as well as the US Darley Best jockey award. American trainer Lynn Ashby won her 8th US Darley Award and was later s elated to also win the same category in the HH Sheikha Fatima International Awards.
One of the most popular winners of the night was Laura King, a Horse-racing TV presenter based in the UAE, who pipped Victoria Shaw though the Australian did win the Best Journalist award.
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) said, “We started with six categories in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley International Awards for ladies and today we have 15. It is growing bigger and looking to the future.”
“Tomorrow (Saturday) we have the US $100,000 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Award Stakes Grade 1 for Purebred Arabian horses at the Santa Anita Park race course and this will now become a permanent fixture on the sidelines of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley International Awards. This is a huge success for us to have a race at California’s most prestigious racecourse,” she said.
“Thanks to the generosity of HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the Mother of the World, we have earmarked US $ 100,000 for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund,” Ms Sawaya stated.
The winners of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley (International) Awards are:
Best 4-Year-Old Filly: Sylvine Al Maury (France)
Best Older Mare: Taraf (Qatar)
Best Amateur Jockey: Dina Heggum (Norway)
Best Apprentice Jockey: Fanny Olsson (Sweden)
Best Professional Jockey: Kelsi Purcell (USA)
Best Breeder: Mrs ReneLaura Koch (France)
Best Owner: Deborah Mihaloff-Kirshner (USA)
Best Trainer: Lynn Ashby (USA)
Best TV Presenter: Laura King (UK)
Best Journalist: Victoria Shaw (Australia)
Best Photographer: Karol Loureiro (Brazil)
Best Endurance Rider: Maria Alvarez (Spain)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Elizabeth Zindel (Switzerland)
Special Recognition Award: Late Veronique Briat (France)
THE US DARLEY AWARD winners are:
Best 3-Year-Old Colt Or Gelding: Easter Man
Best 3-Year-Old Filly; Jewell AA
Best 4-Year-Old Colt Or Gelding: Paddys Day
Best 4-Year-Old Filly: RB French Broad
Best Older Horse: So Big Is Better
Best Older Mare: DC Willeys Song
Best Jockey: Kelsi Purcell
Best Trainer: Lynn Ashby
Best Breeder: Joseph & Betty Gillis
Best Owner: Joseph & Betty Gillis
Horse Of The Year: Paddys Day