Muscat: Australian jockey Nikita Makin partnered Qabas to win the opening round of the HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak World Ladies Championship at the Al Fulaij racecourse in Muscat on Thursday night.
Trained by Salim Al Hakamani for the Royal Cavalry Oman, the six-year-old son of Simoun Ben Zid ex-Zeenah, did everything right to kick away from the pack and storm home to win comfortably.
The first leg of the world’s richest ladies race was held on the Omani Derby Cup day and carried a total purse of €20,000 (Dh98,041).
Jockey Shathra Al Hajjaj carried the UAE’s hopes while Fatima Manji represented Oman in a race that attracted ten women jockeys from Europe, USA, and Australia.
“I’m truly delighted to land my first Arabian win and qualify for the final leg on the big night at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in November,” Makin said.
“It’s a great owner for me to be part of this prestigious championship which has attracted the cream of lady riders from around the globe.”
Noora Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the UAE General Women’s Association said: “I would like to thank Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, Chairperson of the UAE General Women’s Federation, Mother of the UAE, for her generous patronage of the championship. The support of Shaikha Fatima for the UAE women has enhanced their status and established a strong base for the women Arabian horse races worldwide.”
The UAE ambassador to Oman, Abdul Redha Khouri, reiterated the importance of the equine sport, which is deeply rooted in the history and culture of the people in this part of the world.
“The HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival is a realisation of the principles which have been laid down by late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and His Highness the President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who have followed in his footsteps,” he said.
“The hosting of the first round of HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak World Ladies Championship underlines the strength of the brotherly ties which link the two nations with each other.”
Lara Sawaya, Director of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival and Head of IFAHR Ladies’ Racing said: “Under the directives of HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak to support the championship, Abu Dhabi has become the world’s capital of ladies’ races.
“This is the first time in which a professional lady jockey lifts the title in one of the 12 rounds of the competition and qualifies for the final, which will in turn encourage the other riders to emulate her success.”
Regarding the results achieved by Hajjaj and Manji, Sawaya said they were convincing and promising.
“We are proud of them. Two more UAE lady jockeys are now ready to take part. Hanadi Al Menhali has been approved by trainer Eric Lemartinel and the popular singer Ariyam is working hard to catch up,” she said.
“The next round will be held in Houston Park, Texas while Switzerland will host for the first time the upcoming round of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup on the ice on February 17.”
Sawaya thanked the organisers for their warm welcome and generous hospitality, which she said contributed to the success of the opening round.