Purebred Arabians will share the spotlight on Dutch Derby day, the most important date in the calendar for racing fans in Holland, when the second race of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Flat Racing Festival takes place in Duindight today. The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Arabian Cup will be part of a race day which also features the Dutch Derby for thoroughbreds. The Arabians race will feature 13 runners with two, Muqatil Al Khalidiah and Emmamer, coming from the stables of the French trainer Jean-Francois Bernard, who won this 1.9km race last year with Simmbad.
Baddad, owned by Sheikh Mansour, is also in the field. Al Anqa, trained by Alban de Mieulle from Qatar, is another highly regarded runner. Agar's Shugran, Bachi Bouzouk, Ircalan, Kokkie, ND's Nitron, Nib Habibi Star, Prince des Cedres, Sankado and Soleil, Kossack complete the field for the race, which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and co-ordinated by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The race should bring more exposure to the purebred Arabian breed, according to Abdullah al Qubaisi, the communications director of ADACH. "The Dutch Derby day meeting is the most important horse racing event in Holland," he said. "And to stage our Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Arabian Cup Race in the same meeting is a huge boost for purebred Arabian horses and their connections." Today is the second leg of the three-race Sheikh Mansour Flat Racing Festival. A bonus of ?20,000 (Dh92,800) is available for the top performers among owners and trainers in the series, said Lara Sawaya, director of the festival. The first race was held in Toulouse; the third will be in Poland.
* Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi, with agencies