Germans win HH Sheikha Fatima world championships
Auge steers Al Shamoos to victory in world’s richest race for Purebred Arabian horses
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Al Shamoos, owned by HH Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, won the Dh. 5 million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown- the world’s richest race for Purebred Arabian horses, on Friday night at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club’s turf racecourse here in the UAE capital.
French jockey Julien Auge on Al Shamoos cruised him in perfect fashion to chalk out a first-ever UAE success for himself and fellow French trainer Charles Gourdain while two German ladies and a young Swedish pony jockey also shared the limelight on the big night for the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.
In the Group 1 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown race over a mile’s distance, ES Ajeeb did all the early running before fading away and from then on it was a powerful run by the 4-year-old No Risk Al Maury filly Al Shamoos.
With about 500 metres left, Auge kicked his mount into a substantial lead and it was left to Fazza Al Khalediah, defeated just once in 11 previous starts, to chase him home. But Pierantonio Convertino on Fazza Al Khalediah had too much to do and had to settle for second behind the Sheikh Tahnoon-owned Al Shamoos.
For the owner it was a memorable winner with his first UAE runner since March 2015 and for his trainer Charles Gourdain, a maiden local success with just his second competitor in the UAE.
For Auge, riding in the UAE for an eighth time, it was also a first UAE victory and he proved more than capable deputy for Christophe Soumillon who was aboard Al Shamoos when she won the Arabian Trophy des Juments (G1 PA, mares only), at ParisLongcamp on her previous start.
“I was obviously delighted to be asked to ride her and knew her form well from France,” said Auge. “The leader went quickly enough, but not madly fast, so I was happy to take a lead and she really quickened when I asked. She is a quality filly and this is a very special occasion for all of us.”
Gourdain, who was seemingly hugged by half those present in the paddock area, added: “We were hopeful and blessed with a nice low draw in three. The race could probably not have worked out much better and it is amazing to win this race for this owner here in Abu Dhabi.”
Winning their respective 86th races for Rebecca Danz and Esther Weissmeier not only earned them world titles but also helped them make it a German double on the big night.
In the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship final race, Germany’s Danz on Asyyad led a top four sweep for trainer Eric Lemartinel in the colours of his main patron, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Asyyad under Danz won from Lemartinel’s daughter Marie on Bainoona with Mahfouz under Ireland’s Evanna McCutcheon and Jaahiz under UK’s Antonia Peck make it 1-2-3-4 for the French trainer.
“Obviously we were very hopeful and the conditions of the race suited Asyyad so we though he was our best choice,” said trainer Lemartinel. “To have the first four is probably more than we could have hoped, but the jockeys have done well.
“I am delighted with Asyyad winning under a very good ride and also, very proud of Marie who rode the second excellently.”
Danz added: “This is just brilliant and I am over the moon. To win here in Abu Dhabi, wearing these silks and representing my country is very special. I have to thank the horse’s connections and of course the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival for this wonderful series of races.”
It was another world championship for Germany when Esther Weissmeier made her 86th career win a memorable one in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice Jockey Championship final.
Weissmeier won on Harrab, saddled by Jean de Roualle for Yas Horse Racing Management owned by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
“Obviously it is a great feeling to come here and win and I was able to do exactly what the trainer told me,” Weissmeier said. “He told me to follow the leaders and, from our low draw, try and stay on the inside. He instilled me with a lot of confidence and I was obviously very lucky when my name came out of the hat on Tuesday to ride this horse.”
De Roualle added: “We knew we had a good chance, but in these races, you rely a lot on a good jockey and she has given the horse a great ride, following instructions perfectly.”
Sweden’s flag also flew high on the night and that was due to a determined effort by 11-year-old Stina Landh who won the HH Sheikha Lateefa Bint Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan International Pony race final.
According to Swedish scribe Nils Rosenkjaer, Stina had qualified for the final riding a shetland pony. “Very much looking forward to the race and aware that the ponies in the final would be bigger than what she usually rode, Stina broke out of her comfort zone and prepared herself for the final riding much bigger ponies. That has paid off and she has made Sweden proud,” he said.
AL NABOODAH DOUBLE
One of the UAE’s leading owner and breeder of Purebred Arabian horses, Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, helped himself to a double in the supporting races for Purebred Arabian horses.
In the opening UAE Martyrs Trophy, Ben Curtis, stable jockey for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, was seemingly never headed on the trainer’s AF Momtaz, homebred by Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah.
Al Naboodah’s second win on the night came in the Festival’s Wathba Stallions Cup For Private Owners Only, a 6-furlong Handicap through Noof KB, trained by Ernst Oertel and ridden by Connor Beasley.
In the only Thoroughbred contest, the 1600m UAE Martyrs Cup, Olivier Delouze on Jaaref struck for UAE trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. Jaaref is owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HH Sheikha Lateefa Bint Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Humaid Saeed Al Neyadi, Ms. Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, General Manager of Wathba Stallions, Chairperson of the Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), ADEC Director General Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi and Musallam Al Amri- Director of Al Jazira Stables gave away the trophies to the winners of races along with other VIP guests, representatives of the Festival’s sponsors, officials.
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, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carrier, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFHRA, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi Youth Council, General Authority for Sports and sponsored by Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Nissan Middleast Al Massood Automobiles, Nirvana Travels and Tourism LLC, Equicare Veterinary Services, Alawal Stud, Cavalos Equine Care & Supplies, SET Sustainable Environmental Technologies, Al Awani General Enterprises, Omeir Travels, Kabale, YAS Channel, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohammed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, 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 2018, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and Anantara Hotel.
article: Satya Narayan - photos: M.Alassaf
For more information on the festival please view:http://www.sheikhmansoorfestival.com/