2015 World Cham­pi­onships in Abu Dhabi

Ladies in Racing - - Contents -

Home of the His High­ness Sheikh Man­soor Global Ara­bian Flat Rac­ing Fes­ti­val, Abu Dhabi and its race­track were about to stage an­other mon­u­men­tal con­quest for an Aus­tralian rider, as well as many in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts. Mel­bourne ap­pren­tice jockey Ben Thomp­son had se­cured him­self a start in the Her High­ness Sheikha Fa­tima Bint Mubarak, Ap­pren­tice’s World Cham­pi­onship against fel­low jock­eys from all over the world. Ben’s ear­lier vic­tory this year in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky in the United States of Amer­ica as a leg of the Pure­bred Ara­bian Rac­ing Fes­ti­val pro­vided him with a walk-up start for the world fi­nal in Abu Dhabi. How­ever it wasn’t just the rid­ers con­test­ing the Fes­ti­val’s con­clud­ing races that were in­vited to the Abu Dhabi cel­e­bra­tions. Through­out this year the HH Sheikh Man­soor Pure­bred Ara­bian Flat Rac­ing Fes­ti­val has toured the world pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to jock­eys and rac­ing par­tic­i­pants alike, with in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ences that for many peo­ple were be­yond their wildest dreams. Queens­land rider Tracy O’hara had the ex­tra­or­di­nary prospect back in Jan­uary to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in the Ara­bian Penin­sula na­tion of Oman. A beau­ti­ful and ex­otic Ara­bic coun­try with in­cred­i­ble hos­pi­tal­ity and a rich rac­ing her­itage of its own, that gave Tracy a for­eign en­counter well be­yond that of her home town of Rock­hamp­ton.

The HH Sheikh Man­soor Fes­ti­val also pro­vided an in­ter­na­tional stage to Benalla based jockey – Shirley Hunter, mak­ing this year one that Shirley would never for­get. Less than six months af­ter Shirley had her first city win­ner at Moonee Val­ley, Shirley could not be­lieve her luck as she rep­re­sented Aus­tralia in a leg of the HH Sheikha Fa­tima Bint Mubarak ladies races in Stock­holm, Swe­den. Fin­ish­ing se­cond by a very nar­row mar­gin, Shirley had the ride of her life aboard a Pure­bred Ara­bian, trained by Hol­land’s Karin Van der Bos. Mel­bourne rider Jackie Be­r­i­man had found her­self in Cal­i­for­nia in the United States as a part of the Pure­bred Ara­bian Fes­ti­val also. Rid­ing a de­light­ful Pure­bred Ara­bian Big is Bet­ter, Jackie fell in love with her mount and the whole in­ter­na­tional plat­form that HH Sheikha Fa­tima and her son HH Sheikh Man­soor pro­vide to typ­i­cally thor­ough­bred rac­ing par­tic­i­pants. Jackie, her­self the owner of an Ara­bian horse, re­ally en­joyed the work­ing op­por­tu­nity to race and en­gage with Pure­bred Ara­bian horses, know­ing first­hand the Ara­bian’s ca­pac­ity to think on the run as well as the an­i­mal’s emo­tional in­tel­li­gence. An­other Mel­bourne jockey, ap­pren­tice Jake Bayliss had a truly Euro­pean rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence aboard a Pure­bred Ara­bian in Poland. Tor Sluzewiec is one of east­ern Europe’s finest race tracks, that




Af­ter Ben’s ju­bi­lant vic­tory, the ex­cite­ment con­tin­ued as Switzer­land’s Astrid Wullschleger rode Najm Ale­marat, trained by UAE based French horse trainer Eric Le­martinel for HH Sheikh Khal­ifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Astrid was ec­static to win the HH Sheikha Fa­tima bint Mubarak Ladies World fi­nal. The fi­nale of the evening, the world’s rich­est Ara­bian race – The Jewel Crown val­ued at $1.9 mil­lion AUD (1.2mil­lion Euro) was the last event on the pro­gramme. All jock­eys as guests of the Sheikh Man­soor tour and rac­ing fans alike, at Abu Dhabi, were treated to a thrilling fin­ish and a mag­nif­i­cent dis­play by one of the world’s lead­ing rid­ers – Olivier Pes­lier, aboard the Qatar owned Pure­bred Ara­bian – Kalino. Al­ban de Mieulle the win­ning trainer, who pre­pared Kalino to de­feat Sa­habba thrilling close fin­ish for the in­au­gu­ral group one race. As the Mel­bourne Cup Car­ni­val prides it­self on host­ing var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tions, The HH Sheikh Man­soor Global Pure­bred Ara­bian Flat Rac­ing Fes­ti­val, not only tours the world, but also ac­tively en­gages 81 na­tion­al­i­ties and rac­ing par­tic­i­pants from all walks of life with the very foun­da­tion of rac­ing – The Pure­bred Ara­bian. Spe­cial thanks to Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the HH Sheikh Man­soor Global Ara­bian Flat Rac­ing Fes­ti­val, Ms Lara Sawaya and her team for an in­com­pa­ra­ble year. The Mel­bourne Rac­ing Club looks for­ward to host­ing the Pure­bred Ara­bian Fes­ti­val on its Aus­tralia Day pro­gramme in Jan­uary 2016.

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The Fes­ti­vals Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Lara Sawaya and Fes­ti­val Dig­ni­taries with 2015 Aus­tralian jock­eys wait­ing for Ben Thomp­son

RIGHT: Ben Thomp­son hold­ing his tro­phy aloft with Aus­tralian's Shirley Hunter, Jackie Be­r­i­man and Jake Bayliss

The ap­pren­tice's race tak­ing the first turn out of the straight in Abu Dhabi

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