Sunday, Aug 16, 2015
Abu Dhabi: The Wellington race track in Ostend, Belgium, will host three major Purebred Arabian races on Monday as the HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival comes to town.
Eight horses will start in the latest race in the Festival’s premier series — the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Group 3), which will be run over 1,600 metres on grass with €35,000 on offer.
Eight female jockeys will also get their last chance to qualify for the HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR) final to be held in Abu Dhabi in November. They will contest over 1,000 metres for a prize fund of €30,000.
And the Festival’s focus on apprentice jockeys will see ten of them compete for a place in the final of the HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR), which will be run over 2,100 metres, with €20,000 up for grabs.
Alibaba Del Sol, from trainer Karin van den Bos’ yard and under Andrea Fele, looks the one to beat, with the other riders and runners being Maghazi (Aase Marie Brown), Hurra (Shakir Al Beloushi), Dicky (Valerie Debruyne), Paramour T (Isis Magnin), Bajik D’Albret (Katarina Nenadovic), Tokhil (Paulien Dobbelaere), AF Deema (Conor Hoban), Zehrah D.A (Barbara Szentes) and Patchouli La Couture (Diana Zubekova).
In the ladies’ race, Brazilian ace Jean Alves gets the ride on Mirabelle Del Sol and could be the one to beat, though Sartejano under Alice Bertiaux will also be a threat.
The others in the fray are Nabuko under Dina Heggum, Victor under Page Fuller, Attila De Rouaisse under Berit Webber, Nero DA under Jessica Marcialis, Gordon DA under Catherine Rieb Mernard, Warko Du Cayrou under Hana Jurankovah and Zafina DA under Jan Alexandria.
The Group 3 Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup will be the feature event and Athlete Del Sol will be starting as the favourite, though Kao Kat MHF, a winner at Newbury last month, and Phraseur Kossack are strong contenders. Karar, Nain, Speed Kossack, Labwah and Sahabba complete the small but strong field.
“We are excited to be back in Belgium and on Monday all three races are sure to provide exciting Purebred Arabian racing for the fans. The HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Championship in particular will see an all-out bid by the lady jockeys as this is the last berth left to fill for the November 8 final in Abu Dhabi,” said Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), and Chairperson of Ladies and Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR).
Nelly Philippot-Hermanne, President of the Arabian Horse Racing Club of Belgium, added: “It is with great pride that we are staging the three prestigious races under the umbrella of the HH Shaikh Mansour Festival. We welcome all on this important yearly event in the world of horse racing — an activity where Belgium was on top worldwide in the previous century.”
Gulf News 2015. All rights reserved.