Abu Dhabi: Three-year-old filly Raqiyah won the opening race of the 2009 His Highness President of the UAE Series for Purebred Arabian horses held on Sunday in Chantilly, France. Raqiyah, owned by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani from Qatar, won the Group 1 race for three-year-olds over a distance of 1,600 metres.
Ridden by French jockey A. Bouleau, the Alban de Mieulle-trained Raqiyah finished ahead of Nieshan and Forgehill Cezanne in front of a packed Chantilly race course, according to a press release from the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF).
On a day when the Etihad Airways Prix Jean Prat (Group 1) for three-year-olds and the 2000-metre Prix D'Abu Dhabi (Prix Ville Chantilly) handicap for four-year-olds (thoroughbreds) was also held, the His Highness President of the UAE race was well supported.
Taleb Dhaher Al Muhairi, Secretary-General of the EEF, Ahmad Al Rumaithy of EEF and Mohammad Saif Hilal from the UAE Embassy in France attended Sunday's races and gave away the trophies to the winners.
"This was the first of our 2009 series and the race also marked the 1,000th race for pure-bred Arabians being held in France. It was a great moment and the large crowd enjoyed the Arabian horses in action," said Al Muhairi.
"With the rain staying away and a large crowd packing this historic racecourse, it was a perfect start to the 15th year of our support to pure-bred Arabian horse racing in Europe.
"There were over 20,000 fans and many were curious to know more about Arabian horse racing and the UAE's involvement in horse racing," Thaleb said.
The Emirates Equestrian Federation has planned similar races in Newmarket in England, Moscow in Russia and Baden Baden in Germany and a race for pure-bred Arabians for the first time in Ascot.
(Published: July 07, 2009, 22:46)