Late Zayed's efforts praised

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Late Zayeds efforts praised
Shaikh Hamdan with offiicals during his meeting with the media in Surrey.

London - Shaikh Hamdan visions a Purebred Arabian equivalent to the Dubai World Cup

By Hisham Al Gizouli/Chief Reporter

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Published: Sat 25 Jul 2015, 9:37 PM

Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance paid tribute to late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, saying that he's the man behind the idea of promoting the Arabian horse worldwide.
Speaking to newsmen from his house at Sunningdale, Surrey here on Friday, the leading international horse breeder and owner said: "Late Shaikh Zayed told us to give part of our time for the Arabian horse while breeding the Thoroughbreds, in order to promote the UAE culture, heritage and pride to the rest of the world. This was in 1982 as I recall and from that moment onwards we have started our contacts with the Jockey Club," he recalled.
"Unfortunately, we have been faced with strong opposition, but we were able to work our way through with much patience and determination despite the unnecessary barriers that have been planted in our way," he added.
"The beginning was in Kempton Park, but the people there didn't want to raise the profile of the Arabian races, and this fact coupled with the decision of the Jockey Club to keep the prize money to the minimum has made our job very difficult.
"However, we were warmly welcomed when we decided to shift our operations to Newbury. The people there were helpful and this has encouraged us to lobby the Jockey Club for more concessions.
"I'm happy with what has been achieved so far and my dream is to stage a Purebred Arabian equivalent for the Dubai World Cup to be hosted in collaboration with Shaikh Mansoor bin Zayed Festival and Qatar and to be held alternately as part of the Dubai World Cup day in Dubai, Shaikh Zayed Cup in Abu Dhabi and the Emir Sword day in Doha," he said.
"I don't deny that the TB races are well established, but from my observations I have noticed that families prefer the Arabian races to their TB equivalents. The best example was better reflected in the big crowd which attends our races in Newbury (18,000) as compared to 15,000 who have attended the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot," he confirmed.
"But, the real challenge is to attract European companies for our races. Right now sponsorships come from UAE and Qatari companies," he noted.
Muhaarar to retire to stud
Shaikh Hamdan confirmed early reports that his top sprinter Muhaarar will retire to stud towards the end of the season. "I hope he will remain safe till the end of the season. We don't have his blood line in our studs farms (Darley & Shadwell) and he will be more useful in breeding. He has nothing new to add in racing and there's no point keeping him in training," he said.
Muhaarar, a home-bred three-year-old son of Oasis Dream (by Green Desert) has established himself as Europe's top sprinter after winning the inaugural edition of the Commonwealth Stakes (Gr-1) and Darely July Cup (Gr-1) in his last two starts to bring his career wins to five out of nine appearances.
"Mahsoob is not a Group-1 horse, but he has surprised me with his recent form winning four straight starts though he was not raced as a juvenile and made only one appearance at the age of three. But he's an honest horse and there's more to come from him," he said.
Meanwhile, Shaikh Hamdan said he decides by himself the Group engagements for his horses, but sometimes trainers influence his decision."Taghrooda is a keen filly and we came to know her caliber since she has won her maiden race. And after winning the Oaks, I wanted to send her to race in France (Prix Vermeille), but John Gosden insisted on entering the filly for the Darely Yorkshire Oaks en route to the Arch and she has finished second to Tapesty. The jockey told me that the surface didn't suit her, and later I came to understand that the trainer was involved in athe chase for the trainers' title. He intended to serve himself," he said. For Shaikh Hamdan, breeding is always better than buying from the open market and their operations in UK, Ireland, US and Australia are providing the best crops for the races.
"Invasor was the only horse which I have bought without seeing him. He is an exceptional creature that I have bought from Latin America for $1.5m," he said. The Argentinean-bred has won 10 of his 11 starts. His only defeat was at the age of three in the UAE Derby after missing the break; before he went on to claim six Group-1 titles. These included the Breeders Cup and the Dubai World Cup.
Shaikh Hamdan is of the opinion that some of the jockeys are not courageous enough while others lack a touch of luck. "Frankie Dettori has cost me two Breeders Cups and two Classics because he doesn't listen and he's somehow 'arrogant'," Shaikh Hamdan said.
Sakhee was narrowly beaten by Tiznow (a nose) in the Breeders Cup while Swain was a length behind Awesome Again after Dettori lost self-control in the straight. Swain would have otherwise become the first British-based horse to win the race.

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