Marrakech hosted the 8th edition of the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Almost 400

personages from 86 different countries came together for three days of talks and debates, from the 4th to the 6th May. This year’s big event: the inauguration of the Marrakech racecourse and the UAE Abu Dhabi Race Day, a series of races run on the 7th May.

Jockey weight: the need for awareness

Amongst the many workshops, the one on nutrition was particularly instructive. Since the subject has appeared at the conference, and thanks to the research into the matter by the John Moores University at Liverpool, jockeys have become more aware of the importance of nutrition to control their weight. Dr Philip Pritchard, from the John Moores University, elaborates: “This work would not have been possible had it not been for the support from the Festival. The program came to an end after 3 years of research, and that incited British Horse Racing to continue our work. We now can offer jockeys in the United Kingdom the opportunity to be evaluated at the University and benefit from a nutrition program.” Ambassador of the Festival and leading jockey in the United Arab Emirates, Richard Mullen suggests that “five years ago, no jockey treated their nutrition and exercise regimes like an athlete. They now do, mostly thanks to the efforts of the Festival, through this Conference. We are seeing a real change in the jockeys mentalities on this subject.”

Two major announcements for the Sheikh Mansoor Festival

The executive director of the Sheikh Mansoor Festival, Lara Sawaya, announced two major events:

. A race, to be a leg of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, with $ 200.000 in prize money, will take place at Pimlico racecourse on the day of the Preakness Stakes next year. This race will mark the 100th year since the birth of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the United Arab Emirates: « Sheikh Zayed was a pioneer in the promotion of the Purebred Arabian, and we will celebrate his 100th year in 2018. The Preakness Stakes is one of the biggest races of the season, and we will host another major race on this same day, for Arabian horses », said Lara Sawaya.

. Madrid will host the next edition of the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference. Spain has been developing its race program for Arabians for some time, notably at the Dos Hermanas racecourse at Seville, and at the Basque track of San Sebastian. This event brings together all the people from the industry and will support the increasing efforts of the Spanish racing authorities, in particular those of Barbara de Mieulle.


Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Listed PA)

The Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan International Arabian Racing Festival had a stopover in Marrakech on the 7th May and the new track at Marrakech hosted its first ever races. The Listed of the day, the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Listed PA) saw the three representatives of owner and trainer Kamal Daissaoui take the first three places.

Syndella (Scoubidou de Carrère) was the best of them, in the hands of Khalid Jbilou, in front of his stable companions, Bachar de Carrère (Kerbella) and Salma Al Khalediah (Dormane). “This is a big win for me, said Khalid Jbilou, the winning jockey. There were better horses than mine on form in the race, but this filly showed plenty of guts and never gave up. Her trainer had told me to hold her up and wait for a chance, and that is what we did”. Khalid Jbilou is 21 years old, and already has over fifty wins to his name.

Already the winner of the Wathba Stud Farm Cup just minutes earlier, Kamal Daissaoui, an unmissable figure in Moroccan racing with around a hundred horses, including around forty Arabians, said for his part: “I am very, very happy with this win at the opening meeting of Marrakech racecourse, especially on an international occasion. I thought that Bachar de Carrère and Salma Al Khalediah would be in front of Syndella but she surprised me, in the best way. Bachar de Carrère has won a Group 3 PA previously, but he’s had some setbacks in his preparation. »


Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR)

Onboard Jasma I (Pomander), the French jockey Yoann Bonnefoy had to keep a cool head and use all of his experience to manage this mare and win this apprentice jockey race. Jasma I began to hang to the outside a few meters from the line before winning decisively in front of Akha Amyr Event (Darweesh), ridden by the English Gemma Tutty, and Marhaban Maamora (Moneybox Al Maury) in the hands of the Algerian Walid Bendjekidel.

Yoann Bonnefoy was qualifying for the final of the competition for the first time, which will take place in November at Abu Dhabi.


Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR)

The Slovakian Michala Kucharikova won the Moroccan leg of the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship riding Djourman Bs (D’Jaman). She has secured her place in the final which is held in Abu Dhabi in November. « The trainer told me to be decisive with the horse. He was slowly away, and was idling out the back initially. Once we came off the final turn, we found a gap, and my horse lengthened his stride. The Dutch rider came back up on us, but my horse went on again to just win, commented Michala Kucharikova. I am really pleased. It is the 8th win of my career and I often take part in these races at the Festival. It is the second time that I have qualified for the final. In 2013, I won at Duindigt before finishing 5th in the final. I am looking forward to returning to Abu Dhabi in November and I will be happy if I can finish in the first five. »