x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

No slip up from Fanal El Samawi with win on frozen Swiss lake

The 1,800-metre race at St Moritz was the first of a series of 12 races around the world as part of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Global Arabian Festival, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Winning jockey Fabian Weissmeier, right, rides Fanal el Samaw to a snowy victory in Switzerland on Sunday. Andy Mettler / Swiss Image
Winning jockey Fabian Weissmeier, right, rides Fanal el Samaw to a snowy victory in Switzerland on Sunday. Andy Mettler / Swiss Image

Fanal El Samawi has won the inaugural Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup on the frozen Lake St Moritz in Switzerland.

Germany's 2012 Purebred Arabian champion led off the turn at the unique racecourse set up in the ski resort and held off the late challenge of Logudorese, the Italian raider.

Fanal El Samawi handed the Weissmeier family a memorable victory as the jockey Fabian Weissmeier was riding for Regine, his mother and trainer of the winner.

He won the Wathba Stud Farm Cup race staged in Miesau, Germany, in August, where he defeated Ghilali, who could never land a blow in Sunday's Listed event.

The 1,800-metre race is the first of a series of 12 races around the world and is part of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Global Arabian Festival.

With races in America, Australia, Europe and Abu Dhabi, to have the series opener staged at altitude in Switzerland was deemed a worthwhile venture by Lara Sawaya. "It was a great success," the festival director said. "It was a very good race and having thousands of spectators watching on the lake today was great.

"Fanal El Samawi has won Wathba Cup races and this is why the directors of the Sheikh Mansour Festival put on such a race. We hope the series can grow and allow horses like the winner to progress to bigger prizes."

Mirco Demuro hit the bull's eye earlier in the day when the Dubai World Cup-winning jockey won the Grand Prix Moyglare Stud on Lipocco, trained by British handler John Hills.

The British were on the mark in the last race, also, when Jim Crowley partnered Ancient Greece to win the Grand Prix the St Leger Club of Lucerne.

Russian Tango won the Grosser Preis von St Moritz, the feature race, when Josef Bojko struck for German trainer Andreas Wohler.

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