(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Athlete del sol wins nahyan cup; alibaba del sol lands shaikha fatima championship
alibaba del sol ridden by jockey carlos lopez races towards the finish line; and below: trainer karen van den bos with officials
leading trainer karen van den bos stole the limelight as the young dutch lady who recently won the hh shaikha fatima bint mubarak oscar saddled athlete del sol ridden by carlos lopez to win the shaikh zayed bin sultan al nahyan cup (listed) before alibaba del sol sprinted home hands and heels under australian lady jockey robyn freeman-key in the hh shaikha fatima bint mubarak ladies world championship (ifahr) at the gardet in the royal national city park stockholm on friday.
the seventh edition of the shaikh zayed bin sultan al nahyan cup (listed) alongside the ninth round of the hh shaikha fatima bint mubrak ladies world championship were held at the royal venue in the heart of the swedish capital under the directives of shaikh mansour bin zayed al nahyan deputy prime minister and minister of presidential affairs as part of the shaikh mansour bin zayed al nahyan global arabian horse flat racing festival.
the swedes were marking their national day on june 6 in honour of two historical events. on 6 june 1523 gustav vasa was elected king and on the same date in 1809 the country adopted a new constitution. not known for displaying their national pride this day offers a rare chance to see swedes waving their flag about.
the shaikha fatima bint mubarak ladies world championship was run for the first time over 2750 metres with nine professional ladies making the line up in the world’s premier women competition. al janoob under english lady jockey rachael kneller finished second and behind them came janine ellen smith making her shaikha fatima’s debut for canada on board neira royal.
“alibaba del sol is a tough warrior who has also won on ice ‘white turf’ at st moritz in switzerland earlier this year. he’s in great form and alibaba del sol at nine still wants to run wants to win. it has been tough for them travelling for over three days to come here but they were just superb and we enjoyed racing in front of this record crowd” van den bos said.
“it was an easy win” said the australian girl who have steered the winner home. this is my first time on the back of an arabian horse and it was such a pleasing experience with the win making it a memorable series debut. my mount is a brilliant performer who did everything right to give me a nice trip in what could be described as a one-horse contest” said the 33-year-old freeman-key who has landed her 401st winner.
“i am super excited to having clinched a berth in the abu dhabi finale and i am looking forward to that race” she added. “this is the fourth country outside down under in which i have made my mark after macau and south africa” she noted.
freeman-key will now join the winners of the previous hh shaikha fatima bint mubarak ladies world championship ifahr races held so far this year — irish lady jockey evanna mccutcheon (oman winner); uk’s alyson deniel (australia); prod’home pauline of france (switzerland); sandee d. martin of usa (houston usa); keumjoo lee of south korea (morocco); victoria allers of norway (toulouse france); jadey pletrasiewicz of the netherlands (germany) and brazilian jeane alves (newbury uk).
shaikha najla al qasimi the uae ambassador to sweden attended the races and gave away the trophies to the winners.
“this race-meeting has been remarkable and the largest audience ever to watch a purebred arabian race here in sweden. this success is testimonial to the huge interest that the of shaikh mansour bin zayed al nahyan global arabian horse flat racing festival has been attracting in all races wherever they are held” shaikha najla said.
lara sawaya executive director of shaikh mansour bin zayed al nahyan global arabian horse flat racing festival and chairman of ladies racing at ifahr said “today’s race meeting was a perfect advertisement for purebred arabian racing. with nearly 50000 fans in attendance the festival’s two races were the showcase events of the afternoon amidst perfect weather conditions.”
“with the participation of the canadian lady jockey janine ellen smith the number of countries that have taken part in our ground-breaking hh shaikha fatima bint mubarak ladies world championship ifahr race series for lady jockeys has now reached 54. this truly reflects the success of the series as well as the festival” sawaya added. “the festival’s next stop will be in the netherlands on june 22” she added.