Shortly after performing a victory lap with Treble Jig in the parade ring at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, owner Fathi Esaed Mohammad Egziama received a glowing endorsement from his jockey Wayne Smith.
Smith believes that the owner has made a huge contribution to UAE flat racing with purchases like Treble Jig and Russian Rock, two of the stars that have re-written all records at Jebel Ali in recent years. He even went so far as to encourage people with a liking for flat racing to take the cue from Egziama and to invest in horse racing.
His remarks were very encouraging and affirming, to say the least, for if there is anything that the sport could do with right now is an injection of fresh faces and to see more people take the plunge and buying a horse.
As the great advertising guru Leo Burnett once said: “If you reach for a star, you might not get one. But you won’t come up with a hand full of mud either.”
Egziama’s foray into horse racing was quite coincidental and, as he himself has said, he never set out to aim for the stars by buying a portential Derby winner, or anything of that sort. All he wanted was a horse that could give him a lot of fun and pleasure. Treble Jig fitted the bill — Egziama did not have to break the bank to pick him up at a Doncaster sale and after handing him over to Musabah Al Muhairi, the party started.
The thing I like about him is that he has a great personality, and the passion and commitment that he brings to the track each weekend is a joy to behold. In just two years he has become a fantastic ambassador for private horse owners and he’s done a superb job in building a team between himself, Al Muhairi and Smith.
He has repeatedly stressed the importance of having fun while maintain a competitive edge.
True, he likes nothing more than to lead in a winner. You could just tell with the way he flashes smiles that he’s having fun and really enjoying the moment. He once told me that coming up with the money to invest in a horse is one thing, but to see your horse in action on the track was something else.
I often get the feeling that horse owners don’t get the recognition they deserve. Most times they are perceived as the gentlemen with the big bank balances that are looking for something other than a Jaguar S-Type on which to spend their dough. How wrong is that? We’re not talking Roman Abramovich or Malcolm Glazer, just ordinary people like Egziama or Justin Byrne, founder of the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club, who have also had so much fun owing horses like Kilt Rock, Clasp and Karma Chameleon.
Like Byrne, Egziama has found the blueprint for success by combining his passion for horses with winning. Whether his achievements can inspire more people to embrace horse racing is a moot point. But I’m pretty convinced that he may well be triggering an interesting trend.