Qatari jockey Abdulla Saleh Al Yaefei steered Tropical’s Son to land the QREC-sponsored Al Rayyan Cup after winning the 1,200-metre handicap race reserved for thoroughbreds and Qatari apprentice jockeys at Scottsville, South Africa on Sunday, 28 August. His Excellency Mr Abdulla Hussein Al-Jaber, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Republic of South Africa attended the race and presented the trophies to the winners, in presence of Mr Abdulrahman Mohammed Al Naama, QREC Head of Riding & Training Section, and Mr Ali Mohammed Al Saaq, Supervisor of the training of the Qatari jockeys in South Africa. Saddled by Paul Lafferty, the A L Williams-owned Tropical’s Son was led by Abdulla Saleh Al Yaefei to victory a length ahead of the runner up. Jockey Saleh Salem Al-Marri led the Ms J V Borg & Klawervlei Stud-owned and Paul Lafferty-saddled Freddie Flint to come second. The Melanie L Roberts-owned and Michael Roberts-trained Dale House was ridden by Khalid Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari to complete the frame.
The Al Rayyan Cup race was run in South Africa as part of the State of Qatar, represented by the Minister of Culture and Sports, support and development of sports youth, and as an initiative by QREC as part of their efforts to develop Qatari jockeys to the highest levels and produce a new generation of Qatari jockeys to compete in the most prestigious racing events in future.
Our Ambassador in South Africa:
Proud of Qatari young people everywhere
His Excellency Mr Abdulla Hussein Al-Jaber, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Republic of South Africa stated that holding a race sponsored by QREC for Qatari jockeys at a racecourse in South Africa is very significant under the current circumstances. “It came at a very appropriate time during the training camp for the Qatari jockeys in South Africa, and also amid the enthusiasm of Qatari youth of jockeys and administrative staff”, he said, “It was such a pleasure and it makes us feel proud because the citizens of Qatar are always ready under the leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.”
“It was wonderful to see the flag of Qatar fluttering and flying high in South Africa through this group of Qatar jockeys who have presented a brilliant image of the State of Qatar. I’m also proud of my participation in presenting the trophies to the winners after the race because the Qatari presence was distinctive and it demonstrated of the value and the standing of our state worldwide whatever the circumstances might be”, continued His Excellency the Ambassador.
“There is no doubt the Management of QREC did well by holding this training camp for the Qatari jockeys in South Africa for nearly two months, which will have a positive outcome for the jockeys by getting used to riding in races outside Qatar and consequently eliminating the pressures they may have when riding in big races. Besides, they are gaining more experience with other jockeys and getting used to the competitive environment. I do encourage to hold such camps regularly. I also noticed that Tamim al-Majd image was there during the trophy presentation ceremony, which confirms that we, even outside the borders, are all Qatar and are all Tamim”, concluded His Excellency the Ambassador of Qatar to South Africa.
His Excellency Mr Issa bin Mohammed Al-Mohannadi, QREC Chairman, commended the performance of the Qatari jockeys throughout the training course and in Al Rayyan Cup race. “This training course is part of QREC’s vision and strategy to develop the Qatari talents”, he said, “and to focus on developing the equestrian sport in general and horseracing in particular. As I’ve just said, this is part of the QREC’s general approach and strategic plan priorities. I’d like to congratulate jockey Abdulla Saleh Al Yaefei on winning the race and all the participating Qatari jockeys for their brilliant performance”.
11 Qatari jockeys, aged between 15 and 22 years old, are participating in the training course in the South African Jockey Academy in KwaZulu-Natal. They are Abdulla Rashid Al-Adgham, Ali Khalid Al-Mosallam, Meteb Ali Al-Marri, Abdulla Mubarak Al-Maadeed, Saleh Salem Al-Marri, Abdulla Saleh Alyaefei, Khalid Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, Saleh Hamad Al-Marri, Rashid Ali Al-Marri, Mohammed Rashid Al-Mosallam and Abdullah Hozam Al-Marri. They started the training course and performing various training activities in early July and will continue their course until early September. Their training is overseen by senior specialised trainers in South Africa with daily direct follow up by Mr Ali Mohammed Al Saaq, who has priceless experience in this field.
Nasser bin Sherida Al-Kaabi, QREC General Manager pointed out that the training course has proved a success by all means and has contributed to enhancing the skills of the Qatari jockeys. “We, in QREC and Qatar, are proud to have such young talents”, he said, “They only need good preparation according to a structured methodology to reach the highest levels. QREC, therefore, launched their initiative by sending these jockeys to acquire more talents and experience different schools and methods in horseracing. No doubt the positive outcome of this course will be reflected in their participation in the coming racing season at QREC Al Rayyan Racecourse. Their training course has culminated with the QREC-sponsored Al Rayyan Cup race, which has proved, in practice, the progress these jockeys have made so far through the course.”