The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) is looking forward to welcoming back the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival to UK Arabian racing in 2021. The ever-popular Wathba Stallions Cup series supporting the sports’ grassroots is back with five races starting on April 28th at Wolverhampton. However, the Festival highlight will be the Group 3PA HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup run at Haydock Park on Saturday 4th September. The one-mile contest will have a prize fund of £14,000 and is registered as the ARO Cup which was previously run at Newbury and Royal Windsor racecourses.
The five UK Wathba Stallions Cup races will be held from April through August at Wolverhampton, Bath, Royal Windsor, Lingfield Park and Chepstow racecourses. They range from a maiden contest to open the season over seven furlongs, to mid-range handicaps from a mile to a mile and a half.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival has played a significant role in the promotion of Arabian racing and breeding around the world since it began in 2009. The Festival aims to continue the efforts made by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to preserve heritage sports and equestrian sport in particular, promoting Arabian horses and UAE heritage around the world. Sponsoring hundreds of races since its’ inception, the Festival supports a wide variety of contests from the grassroots to the highest level. These events culminate in the worlds’ richest Arabian horse race on Turf, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, a Group 1 PA run in Abu Dhabi.
The Wathba Stallions Cup series aims to promote the breeders of Arabian racehorses, and is supported by Wathba Stallions, the breeding arm in the UAE and France, of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, who is also Chairman of the Emirates Arabian Horse Association.
Genny Haynes, ARO Commercial and Finance Director said: “ARO is extremely grateful for the continued support of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival over the last ten years. Their first race with us was the Wathba Stud Farm Cup Series UK Breeders Stakes run in 2011 at Newbury. Two years later ARO hosted the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival Conference in London, with supporting races also at Newbury. It is also thanks to the Festival’s sponsorship that we held five meetings at Hereford in 2013, which was instrumental in keeping that racecourse operational.”
“The return of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival to the UK has been very well received and we look forward to a competitive season, culminating in HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup. We are also grateful for the support and assistance of the British Horseracing Authority and all the racecourses, in particular Haydock Park who will be hosting Arabian racing for the first time. With regards to the ongoing challenges of Covd19, ARO remains committed to keeping all its’ registered participants informed of updates to UK Arabian racing as soon as they are available.”