Dubai: The Dubai Arabian stud's flagbearer and world champion FT Shaella heads a star-studded field of 276 horses competing for a record $4 million (Dh14.69 million) at the 2011 Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship which starts today.
A multiple junior champion in Paris, Italy, Germany, Dubai, Ajman and Abu Dhabi, the four-year-old filly by Shael Dream Desert will face some strong competition as she bids to defend the title she won at this event 12 months ago.
Among the other stars competing in the three-day event at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre are Ajman Stud's world champion mare Loubna, Sharjah Stud's Marajj and Saudi Arabia's champion stallion Aja Justified.
The DIAHC is essentially a beauty competition for horses. Six judges will score points when horses are standing, walking and trotting on five criteria — type, head and neck, body and top line, legs and movement.
The first two days of the competition will feature qualifying classes in the various categories. The top two from each class will qualify for the championships on Saturday which feature four categories — junior and senior female and junior and senior male.
The winner in the female categories will receive $200,000 and the winners in the male categories will be awarded $250,000.
Over 270 horses are registered to compete in the second Dubai Title Show while 192 horse will compete in the ECAHO Qualifying classes. They include 103 horses from the UAE, 84 from the GCC and five from Europe. A total of 84 horses will participate in ridden, endurance and racing classes.
Among the female horse participating are three horses who are World Gold champions including FT Shaella, Louba and Neisha. A further seven are World Silver or Bronze champions. In the Dubai Show more than 20 females participating have been champion in the most prestigious horse shows in the world.
Three stallions competing are World Gold champions including Marajj and Aja Justified with an additional six horses having won World Silver or Bronze honours. More than 15 male participants have won titles in shows around the world.
The event is held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
Gold sponsors are Dubal, Emirates airline, Dubai Racing Channel, Athbah Stud and the Arabian Horse Organisation. Masafi is the silver sponsor while Shadwell, Government of Dubai Tourism Department and Dubai Municipality are bronze sponsors. The championships are organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The Dubai International Horse Fair (DIHF), reputed as the finest equestrian business event in the Middle East, will run alongside the DIAHC from March today until Saturday.