IN WHAT is another big step towards supporting racing in the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum has stepped forward and through his Shadwell racing and breeding empire will sponsor all six races on Sunday’s Abu Dhabi card. The opening race of this so called ‘Shadwell Day’ card a 2200m maiden for Purebred Arabians is the only one carrying a non Shadwell affiliated name and is titled Abu Dhabi University. Shadwell carry the load of sponsorship amounting to Dh735,000, including the featured 1200m PA Group 3 Shadwell Stud Al Ruwais Stakes worth a massive Dh300,000. The other big money contest on the night is the Shadwell Gold Cup over 1600m.
The announcement to sponsor the card in the UAE capital was made at a press conference where present among the attendees were Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of the Office of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dr Ali Saeed Al Dhaheri, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi University, Prof. Waqar Ahmed, a representative of the University and Ahmed Al Suwaidi, the Director of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. Addressing the gathering, Al Sayegh said: “Sheikh Hamdan is very keen to support racing and has done immensely well to enhance the status of Purebred Arabian racing around the world. “Through his Shadwell Farm, Shadwell Stud and Derrinstown Stud banners he has been constantly backing the sport and is a big supporter of racing at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club as can be seen in the number of horses that represent him here week in week out during the season and now through his sponsorship of racing here too.
“We are glad to be here on the sponsorship roster and will always do our part to ensure racing is backed thoroughly through the initiatives and the directives of Sheikh Hamdan. “We welcome Abu Dhabi University’s participation among the sponsors of this race card and they have been enthusiastic about being part of race cards sponsored by Shadwell.” Dr Al Dhaheri, of Abu Dhabi University, added: “We are very happy to be here as part of the sponsors on this particular race day and it is a great thing to be part of an event that enjoys the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is doing so much to ensure the growth of the equestrian sport around the world.
“Equestrian sport has witnessed a surge in interest from young Emiratis and sport in general helps people integrate and provides a good environment. We take pride in cooperating and being part of endeavours that enhance academics, sport and culture and our best wishes to all that will be competing on this day.” Kim Elliott, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, who was also present at the event said: “We are ready to host the event and will be prepared to ensure everything is conducted smoothly and in an efficient, organised manner.” A total of 4,000 gifts will be handed out to the public that is bound to throng the racecourse as usual.