St Moritz, Switzerland: Favourite Fanal el Samawi romped home to victory as the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Listed) race made a significant debut on the ice tracks on the frozen Late St Moritz in Switzerland on Sunday.
The race was held under the directives of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, as part of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.
Trained by Rennstall Weibmeier at the Alpener Strabe Stables in Germany, on behalf of his owner-wife Sonschalk Weibmeier, and ridden by W. Fabian Xavier, the five-year-old son of Ainhoa St Faust did everything right to lead from wire to wire.
The winner was chased home by Logudorese (Tim Burgin), who finished a close second, and Djektan (Thomas Fourcy) in third.
“We brought Fanal el Samawi from Germany on Thursday and trained him on the track over two days before the race. I think there’s nothing worrying about racing on ice. The pace was slow, but the track was safe and poses no threat to the horses or the riders,” Weibmeier said.
The same opinion was shared by jockey Xavier, who confirmed he didn’t feel any signs of risk at any stage of the trip.
“It’s a thrilling competition and the Arabian horses have shown their ability to run on different surfaces and this is to be added to the many qualities of this noble creature. Fanal el Samawi was in good form and ran a very big race. He handled the surface nicely and responded keenly when asked to improve at the home turn to produce very good speed despite the slow pace,” he said.
Mohammad Atiq Al Rumaithi, UAE ambassador to Switzerland, attended the race and said: “The support which is provided by His Highness the President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brother His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, represents a strong motivation for the youth to excel in international arenas.
“It’s a historic moment to see the Arabian horses taking part in this important event besides the Thoroughbreds, which is a new and attractive move.”
Lara Sawaya, Director of the Festival and head of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) Ladies’ Racing, reiterated that horses will remain in action throughout the year at local and international arenas.
“We have been busy with the HH The President Endurance Cup on Saturday at Al Wathba International Endurance Village and on Sunday we have been in action in Switzerland,” she said.
“The Shaikh Zayed Cup is being staged for the fifth straight year in a completely different and new outlook. It was a historic moment, which has received wide coverage of the international media in general and the Racing Post in particular.
“The success that has been achieved today at St. Moritz means this marvellous city will host next year’s HH Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship, which is also held as part of the Shaikh Mansour Festival.”
Adnan Sultan, Director of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Khalid Abdullah, director of sports affairs at the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, Ali Mousa, general manager of the Dubai Equestrian Club, and Dr Nader Sa’ab attended the race and prize distribution.