Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Champion owner Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah puts welfare ahead of celebrating a third title

'Obey the government’s call and stay at home - it is for everyone’s good'

Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah has delayed celebrating his third UAE owner’s championship to urge people to stay at home and help contain the impact of the coronavirus.

The Emirati businessman was on 33 winners when racing was called off with the cancellation of both the Dubai World Cup and the remaining meetings for the season.

“Firstly, I want to say, our thoughts and prayers are with the people around the world at this difficult time,” Al Naboodah told The National.

“Our government is doing everything within their control to prevent the spread of the Covid-19. We hope this situation will soon end and life returns to normal as quickly as possible.

“I want to get this message across to people to obey the government’s call and stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to venture out into the streets. It is for everyone’s good.”

Al Naboodah joined the chorus of the racing personnel to support the decision to cancel the Dubai World Cup and the remainder of the racing season.

“Racing can resume next season but for the time being we want people to be safe,” he said.

“For me, on the racing front, it was another good season. To win the owner’s title for the third time in four years just goes to prove we can breed quality horses (Purebred Arabians) under challenging weather conditions.

“Obviously, the results and work that has gone into breeding horses gives me a lot of pleasure and happiness. It’s even better when you are the champion owner with horses bred and raised in your own farms.”

Ernst Oertel, the four-time UAE champion trainer, saddled 29 of Al Naboodah’s winners.

“I have a great team behind me,” said Al Naboodah, who took his overall career winners to 305.

“Everyone from the watchman to the trainer has contributed to this success,” he said of the three championship crowns and taking second spot the other year by a solitary win behind the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa.

“The success I have had makes me think that I’m on the right track and with the right team.

Tadhg O'Shea and Af Alwajel rude to victory in the Liwa Oasis. Pawan Singh / The National
Tadhg O'Shea and Af Alwajel ride to victory in the Liwa Oasis. Pawan Singh / The National

“It also goes to show off my breeding programme as a success. I have a good bloodline, provide them the right feed and of course a good team behind me to take care and train the horses.”

One of Al Naboodah’s salient attributes towards his accomplishment is that he doesn’t interfere in the work of his trainers.

“I don’t push those who prepare my horses for the races,” he said. “I think many owners do, to run their horses even when they are not ready.

“This is a big mistake because they don’t get the desired results. You have to be patient, especially with young Arabians. They need time, and every horse is different, like we humans.

“When you are dealing with horses, you need to know what you are doing to achieve success.”

Al Naboodah’s highlight of the season was AF Alwajel winning the Group 2 Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi and the Crown Prince of Sharjah Cup in a new track record time over the 1,200 metres.

His other notable successes were winning the Sharjah Ruler’s Cup with AF Kal Noor and the Gulf Cup with the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained AF Momtaz at the Sharjah track.

Last year, AF Maher in the Al Naboodah silks won the Dubai Kahayla Classic on the Dubai World Cup night.

Al Naboodah is already looking ahead for the next season with some exciting three-year-olds set to come under training from the summer.

“Where success is concerned, we can only do our best like in every season,” he said.

“I have a lot of exciting three-year-olds but we’ll have to wait and see how they perform in races.

“My breeding programme is continuing as usual. AF Al Buraq has been a leading sire for the past five years, but he’s done now, and I have other stallions already proving to be successful.”

Al Naboodah held his first private auctions in February. He had 30 horses on sale of which 25 sold. He has planned to have his second auction in August when people will have enough time to prepare them for the next season.

“We had an average of Dh30,000 per horse in the first auction,” he said. “My objective is to encourage and bring in more people involved in horse racing. The more the merrier.”

Updated: March 25, 2020 04:00 PM

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