Perfect start for Paddys Day in pursuit of Triple Jewel, Royal Richess wins HH Sheikha Fatima Ladies race in Houston

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Paddys Day, winner of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Triple Jewel series last year made a perfect start in his defense of that title with a superb win in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup – Amethyst Jewel, a Grade 1 race at the Sam Houston Race Park in Texas on Saturday night.

Kelsi Purcell got the five-year-old Burning Sand son and odds on favourite from Scott Powell’s yard back to winning ways after the star’s failed run in the world’s richest race for Purebred Arabians – the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown – in Abu Dhabi last November.

While the Sheikh Zayed Cup favourite Paddys Day obliged, the favourite in the second race of the night organized by the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival could only finish third. Jewell AA finished third to Royal Richess ridden by Belgian Sara Vermeersch in the 7-furlong HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Cup.

Paddys Day, the Scott Powel-trained horse went one better than last year when he had finished second to Burning Fleet. With this winning start Paddys Day will now have the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup – Emerald Jewel in Pleasanton in July and the third and final Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup – Diamond Jewel race in Los Alamitos in September along with the bonus of US$ 150,000 on his radar.

Purcell had Paddys Day in control of the race and though Randy Nunley’s F Sixteen (Carol Cedeno up) made a late bid and overtook the Jerenesto Torrez-trained Easter Man, that final burst was not enough.

“He is an amazing horse,” said Scott Powell. “We are so proud of him.”

There was a fifteen-minute delay due to a power failure in the placing judge’s stand. The horses were backed out of the gate, but Purcell said it made no difference to her stallion.

“It was tough, but he held his composure,” said Purcell. “He’s just an amazing horse and will go all the way this year.”

In the all-ladies line-up, Delphine Garcia Dubois of France set the pace on favourite Jewell AA but Royal Richess under Belgian Sara Vermeersch came up with a driving finish to win the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Cup for trainer Lynn Ashby. In fact it was a perfect 1-2 finish for Ashby as Our Princess under Briton Joanna Mason overtook Jewell AA to take second place ahead of the odds-on-favourite.

Ashby hailed the display by the Belgian jockey who was registering her fourth career success. “We love coming to Sam Houston for this race,” said Ashby. “We drew a great rider; she listened and read the form on this mare. She knew what to do; it was awesome,” said Ashby.

Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairman of the Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Chairman of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), Mr. Ali Moosa of Dubai Equestrian Club along with other racing officials from the US attended the prize distribution ceremony.

Ms Lara Sawaya said, “It was a perfect night for Purebred Arabian horse racing. Both the races provided exciting fare for the fans here and some of the top Purebred Arabians racing in the US were in competition.”

“The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival will be back in the US next month when the prestigious HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Awards and the US Darley Awards ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood style,” Ms Sawaya added.

“This year we will also be introducing the HH Sheikha Bint Mubarak Darley Awards Stakes, a Grade 1 race at Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles on the sidelines of the Awards,” she added.

For the fifth year in a row, the Sam Houston Race Park presented family-friendly exotic animal racing alongside the two Purebred Arabian races staged by the Festival. This year, the action included Camel and Ostrich races and nearly 25,000 fans were rooting for their favorite Camel and Ostrich apart from the horses, as they raced a distance of approximately 100 yards.

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 with and sponsored by 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.