Tommos world of racing!
Jhannah Stolt, a 28 year old domestic cleaner from Sweden, did herself and her country proud when winning he first leg of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak ladies world championship 2016 in Oman .
Stolt rode the perfect race on the grey 7 year old Graffiti coming with a tremendous run in this 1 mile race to collar the long time leader and race favourite Al Mirani ridden by the 17 year old Hungarian rider Rebekah gonczi in a thrilling photo finish!
"I can't believe I've won" she told me in the winners enclosure. "I was second in this race last year and was determined to go one better this time. I listened closely to what the trainer Khalifa bin Hamed al Sawa'l told me before the race and everything worked out perfectly!"
It was the second year running that a Swedish rider had won this traditional opener to the HH Sheikha Fatime series and she now becomes the first girl to qualify for the ladies world championship to be run at Abu Dhabi racetrack in November.
It's always a pleasure to go racing in Oman as the Royal Cavalry led by Brigadier General Abdul Raziq al Sharhawarzi look after us so well and also the UAE Ambassador HE Mohammed Sultan al Suwaidi hosted a special pre race lunch for all the overseas guests and riders at the Embassy in Muscat the day before the race.
From a personal point of view it was good to meet up with the British Ambassador to Oman HE Jonathan Wilks who revealed to me that he has always been a big horseracing fan and the Ambassador who is a fluent Arabic speaker enjoyed every minute of the racing action at the track which is just outside the capital Muscat.
I wish he was more involved in the world of racing because he has some wonderful ideas and is a great enthusiast and knows the Middle East region better than most!
During the week Lara Sawaya who runs the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival announced at a packed press conference at the Hormuz Grand Hotel that this year a horse from Oman will be eligible to run in the worlds richest race for pure bred Arabians the 1.2 million euros the sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi in November.
This is a tremendous boost to private breeders in Oman and they received the news with great enthusiasm!
Meanwhile in the USA the Canadian business tycoon Frank Stronach has revealed a personal plan to try and stage the worlds richest horse race called the 'Pegasus World Championship' worth a staggering 12.000,000 dollars!
Stronach whose company owns and operates 6 big tracks in the USA including Santa Anita, Pimlico and Gulfstream Park proposes 12 owners putting up 1,000,000 dollars each and racing for a massive Jackpot.
To avoid a clash with the Breeders Cup in November and the Dubai World Cup in March Stronach would hope to stage the race in January in the USA.
It's a bold and incredible idea and discussions will now take place with leading individuals to see if he can get it off the ground . Watch this space!
And talking of America... It's been confirmed that the Darleys Hollywood 2016 will take place on April 1st, 2nd and 3rd!
The Darley Awards themselves will take place on April 1st in a glittering red carpet ceremony at the world famous Dolby Theatre in Hollywood - home of the Oscars.
The following day the first running of the 100,000 dollar HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards stakes at Santa Anita and then on April 3rd there'll be the Darley Gala Banquet at the Beverly Wilshire hotel where a lot of money will be raised for charity with the Annual stallion Auction.
It's going to be quite a year and Lara Sawaya will reveal more plans for the 2016 Sheikh Mansoor Festival at a special press conference in Abu Dhabi on February 11th!
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