Salim Al Sabousi, new racing manager to Shaikh Hamdan, leads Haatheq into the winner’s enclosure at Meydan. The Emirati has a strong background in endurance racing. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Salim Al Sabousi is relishing the prospect of his ‘dream’ appointment as racing manager to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, one of the most influential and respected race horse owners in the world.

Al Sabousi, who was offered the exalted position by Shaikh Hamdan less than three weeks ago, said he was greatly honoured and privileged but was also aware of the challenges that it brought.

“I want to thank His Highness Shaikh Hamdan for giving me this opportunity,” he told Gulf News at Meydan racecourse on Thursday evening. “Obviously it is a very demanding role, but I am looking forward to working with all the interesting trainers, jockeys and officials who are connected in the sport.

“It is something new to me but I hope to learn and find ways to execute the instructions of Shaikh Hamdan and act as a go-between all those who are involved in training and riding his horses.

“At first, this will be my primary directive. Perhaps later on we can look at how we can develop this role to be more productive.”

A former endurance rider and trainer, Al Sabousi revealed that Shaikh Hamdan has advised him to work closely with all the UAE-based handlers who train his thoroughbred and Purebred Arabian horses.

“Shaikh Hamdan is keen to know how each of his horses are doing, either in training, or what is the outcome when they race,” he said. “He likes to receive feedback and this is what I hope to provide, both to Shaikh Hamdan and the respective trainers, or jockeys.”

Shaikh Hamdan is currently the leading owner in the UAE with 10 wins and eight seconds. Last season horses racing in his famous blue and white silks won 37 races for prize money totalling Dh9.9 million.

The majority of his UAE-based horses are trained by former two-time champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe at the Grandstand Stables, Musabah Al Muhairi at his Oasis I Stables and Doug Watson at the Red Stables.

“Shaikh Hamdan has several horses in training in the UAE and I hope to provide him with accurate information about each one of them before they run and after they run as well.” Al Sabousi said.

“So far his horses have been running very well, so it makes he happy and proud as well to relay this information to Shaikh Hamdan.”

Al Sabousi said that his love for horses stems from his long association with Shaikh Hamdan.

“I began to get involved with horses, mostly endurance in the beginning, when I was a teenager,” he said, “My passion grew and horses are a very important part of my life now. I enjoyed participating in endurance rides and even remember winning a ride in 2004. I did not achieve many wins but I was competitive and loved the challenge of endurance rides.

“I like challenges and look forward to my new position as a fresh challenge. It is still too early to say what I can achieve but my ambition is to provide the best service to Shaikh Hamdan, who has entrusted me with this important position.”