Rami starts as favourite

TOULOUSE (FRANCE) - Rami, ridden by JF Bernand, is all out to face the challenge of the Saudi contenders in the 2000m PA Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Prix Carthage Hannibal (Group-2) at the Toulouse Racecourse here on Friday.

By Hisham Al Gizouli

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Published: Sat 23 Apr 2011, 12:52 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:39 PM

Friday’s race, which carries a purse of Euro200,00 is the second of the 2011 series for races for the Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, which is part of the Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) in association with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and in coordination with Emirates Arabian Horse Society.

Trained in France by Jean Bernand on behalf of owner Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the five-year-old son of Dormane is heading for his fifth victory in eight starts.

The brilliant performer will face a very strong opposition from the Saudi duo Jallab Al Khalidiah and Naif Al Khalidia.

“My horse is in good form and should get the job done,” a confident trainer Bernand said.

“He has been training well. He likes the Toulouse surface and the 2000 metres distance is his best,” he added.

“But, his job is not going to be easy at all. The French contender Cambrydge and Scoubidou De Carrere will be the ones to beat,” he admitted.

In the meantime, ten fillies will line up in the second race of the afternoon, the Prix Elevage (Group-2) which will be run over 2000 metres and reserved for four-year-old fillies only.

Kiss De Ghazal looks good to deliver for Saudi owner Mohammed Al Qahtani should the brilliant filly manage to handle the surface.

Unbeaten in her three starts, the Dormane daughter from Kaoe De Ghazal has won the Shaikh Zayed Cup last year at the Craon Racecourse before she went on to land the French PA Breeders Cup. Mohammed Al Qahtani said there’s nothing to worry about. “She’s an honest filly and has a touch of class. She has been doing everything right in her workouts. I hope she will be able to maintain her unbeaten run before she gets ready to defend her Breeders’ Cup crown later next month,” he said. Sangham and Kahina De Monlau are the best of the rest. In the third race, Djebella II, a PA Handicap contested over 400 for three-year-old fillies only, nine fillies have been declared to compete for the Euro100,00.

Rakha, Jean Batist up, has every chance to complete a double for its owner Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The unraced three-year-old daughter of Mahal from Al Shamayel makes her debut under great expectations from the connections that she will get the job done in great style.

Finally, top 13 PA horses will be under the starter’s orders in the fourth race, the 14oom PA Prix Denouste Handicap. The mount of Jean Hamil, Naseem will be difficult to beat. Abdulla Al Qubaisi, Director of Communications of ADACH, said: “We are already in the third year of the Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing series and this year the festival has definitely got bigger and better. “Staging this race for the second straight year at the Toulouse Racecourse is a positive indication for the success of the festival at this world Arabian horse breeding centre. I think the message of the festival has been received and our objectives are almost accomplished.

“We want to tell the rest of the world how the Arabian horse has been and will continue to be part of our lives, culture and heritage,” he said.

Lara Sawaya, Director of Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, said, “This is our second race here and the Group 2 status has ensured some of the best Purebred Arabians have entered. This reflects the status of the Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s race series here in the US.”

Stephen Bowey, Executive Marketing Director Invest AD, said: “We are delighted to once again be partners in what is a great initiative by Shaikh Mansoor and are proud of the success that this festival has achieved in the last two years.”

Ali Al Mulla, Chairman of Areej Al Ameerat, said, “Purebred Arabian racing is part of the UAE’s heritage and culture and we strongly believe in our support to the activities of the Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.”

The festival’s races are sponsored by Invest AD, Areej Al Ameerat, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2011,Wathba Stud Farm and AD Equestrian Club. Abdulla Khouri, director of the Al Wathba Stables, said: “ The success which has been achieved by the festival is phenomenal from the organisational and technical viewpoints.”

Shamma Al Ketbi, representative of the UAE General Women’s Association, said: “The General Women’s Association is obliged to Shaikh Mansoor for availing them the opportunity to promote the women sports in the UAE. We are confident that there’s more to come from such activities.”

Musallam Al Amri, representative of the Al Wathba Stables and Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, trainer of Al Wathba Stables, both agreed that the festival has carried the Arabian horse to new heights and soon they will see the Arabian horses racing side by side with the Thoroughbreds.

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