x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Series of nine Arabian races for women jockeys

The Sheikha Fatma bint Mubarak Fegentri Cup, which will be inaugurated in Australia early next year, will provide an opportunity for Emirati amateurs to showcase their talent.

ABU DHABI // A series of nine Arabian races for amateur female jockeys will be staged around the world next year in a competition called the Sheikha Fatma bint Mubarak Fegentri Cup, it was announced on Thursday.

The opening race of the series will be on January 27 at the Australian Stakes day meeting at the Moonee Racecourse in Victoria. On the same card will be the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Cup, the first Arabian race of any kind at a major Australia meet.

"We tried very hard over the years to have a race for the Arabians in one of the major meetings and we had almost given up all hopes when this happened," said Virginia Dodson, a director of National Arabian Racecourse Association and the Arabian Horse Society of Australia.

"In this 10-race card now we will have two races for the Arabians, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Cup and the Ladies Fegentri."

The women's race in Australia will be followed by races at Sam Houston, Texas in the United States (March 9), Casablanca, Morocco (May 4), Newbury, United Kingdom (May 19), Hoppergarten in Berlin, Germany (June 10), Taby in Stockholm, Sweden (July 10), Warsaw, Poland (August 26), Craon, France (September 3) and Abu Dhabi (in November).

There will also be a special one-off Ladies Fegentri race in Abu Dhabi on October 30, the opening fixture of the 2011/12 season.

"The Abu Dhabi race will not be part of the nine-race series but it is the first time a race of this nature is being staged in the capital's racecourse," said Lara Sawaya, the director for the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.

"That's a massive, massive step forward for those ambitious Emirati women jockeys."

Shathra Al Hajjaj and Fatma Al Marri created a piece of history when they became the first Emirati female jockeys to compete in a horse race on the flat at the Duindigt Racecourse in Holland last June. Al Hajjaj finished seventh on Tarfa and Al Marri fifth on Vantage Lady.

apassela@thenational.ae

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