Author: Duane Fonseca

OWNER BREEDER Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda was quick to salute the team that works relentlessly behind the scenes to get his horses in top shape after picking up his third UAE Champion Owners’ gong as the 2019/20 season was brought to an abrupt halt by the Emirates Racing Authority last week due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has ground life across the world to a halt. It meant Al Nabooda was able to defend a title he won last term and previously at the end of the 2016/17 campaign. Even if the ERA were to let the season continue all the way to its scheduled end in mid April there is little doubt the result would have been the same with Al Nabooda’s 33 wins on the board leading the owners’ race by five from a rampant Godolphin, whose UAE campaign would have ended on Dubai World Cup night.

Al Nabooda seemed a tad disappointed that the season ended the way it did as he would have been hoping to win a second straight Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic after AF Maher’s victory in last year’s renewal. The 7yo Al Buraq horse was entered in this year’s race as well but that’s another story whose end will never be determined unlike Al Nabooda’s victory which is very much tangible. “Winning the owners’ championship is the culmination of years of efforts of the entire team involved in the operation: the trainer, the jockeys, the staff at the stables, everyone,” Al Nabooda said. “Since the beginning of the season we have been able to maintain the lead and have been able to achieve 80% of our plan for this season, which God willed to stop before its end.

“I thank everyone who contributed to this achievement and I especially thank the integrated team of trainers, horsemen, doctors and stables workers who were a link for years.” He added: “I ask God to protect our state, our wise leadership, and the people of the United Arab Emirates, and to lift the nation. I praise the decision to cancel the rest of the season’s races and suspend the Dubai World Cup in the interest of the safety and lives of citizens, residents and visitors to the state.” Al Nabooda has been an ardent advocate of the UAE bred Purebred Arabian of which he is a major contributor. He has proven on more than one occasion that UAE bred horses can be competitive against some of the best international bloodlines and has two Dubai Kahayla Classic victories as breeder to prove his point.

He first won the race as breeder with AF Mathmoon, who won the 2016 running of the race in the colours of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Then last year another of his homebreds in AF Maher capped what was an ultra brilliant season for Al Nabooda, winning him the world’s most prestigious Arabian affair as owner. “I have always been advocating the cause of locally bred Purebred Arabians and to be able to breed one that can go and win at one of the biggest races in the world is definitely satisfying,” Al Nabooda told Al Adiyat. “It is something that has made me immensely proud of our achievements as a breeding and racing operation. This season has been very good for us and I thank God for that. We’ve achieved the results as a whole team.

“The bloodlines I have, the stallions I use and the programmes we have in place; my trainer, my jockeys, all of the stable staff: they have done their bit to help me get to where I am today.” Al Nabooda also heaped praise on Sheikh Hamdan for his tremendous support towards the Purebred Arabian cause, which finally has seen the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) integrate Purebred Arabian racing into the British Flat racing calendar in 2020. It is something he will be looking forward to. “HH Sheikh Hamdan has been working on trying to get Purebred Arabian racing included in the big race programmes over there and he has managed to do it which is great news,” Al Nabooda said. “He has done a lot to promote Purebred Arabian horses. He sponsors many Purebred Arabain races and race days in Europe. Even Sheikh Mansoor has been working hard to promote Arabian horses and it has been a very difficult thing to do. “Not just in Europe, but Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Mansoor have been actively trying to promote Arabian racing in Saudi Arabia and other countries worldwide. Maybe, God willing, one day you’ll see my horses in other countries.”