Dubai, UAE, January 4, 2011 – The Emirates Racing Authority’s commitment to the promotion of young Emiratis into horse racing continued at Friday’s Jebel Ali meeting when its latest apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei had his first racecourse ride.

Al Mazrooei rode the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Dahes in the 2nd race. The combo jumped well out of the starting gates and raced in a position near the rear before improving to place seventh.

A United Arab Emirates national, Al Mazrooei had never ridden before joining the UAE Apprentice Scheme.

In November last year, he was placed with trainer Al Raihe at Grandstand Stables, and learnt a great deal there from stable rider Royston Ffrench.

Coincidentally Grandstand Stables was once a base for former UAE apprentice Ahmed Ajtebi early in his career.

“Both have taken me under their wing and it has been a great learning experience. They have helped me so far every step of the way, and Royston has become a mentor to me. I’m very happy to be at Grandstand”.

Fresh from a four-month stint at the Race Academy and Centre of Education in Ireland earlier this summer where he served under Paul Deegan, Al Mazrooei was recently assessed by the Emirates Racing Authority following a positive report from Al Raihe.

The ERA governs the rules and regulations for racing in the UAE and after observing Al Mazrooei in a race trial, were satisfied with the rider’s ability.

Yasir Mabrouk, the ERA’s Master of Apprentices said: “Saeed did not disappoint on Friday and came through the race well. There are still some restrictions, he will not compete over any oval courses for now but we look forward to seeing how Saeed progresses and wish him the best of luck”.

Fellow Emirati Ajtebi also believes there is a lot to look forward to with Al Mazrooei: “He is patient, hardworking and optimistic. I think he shows potential and both his technique and balance are good”.

However, Al Mazrooei himself was a little more reticent just before the racemeeting: “I just hope my first race goes smoothly and it will be a positive experience”.

When asked why he decided to become a jockey Al Mazrooei replied: “I have always liked horses and I think my size and weight are suited to the sport. There aren’t many Emiratis involved at the moment but hopefully that will change.

“Of course I look up to Ahmed Ajtebi and what he has achieved. It was a proud moment for all UAE nationals when he won 2 races during the 2009 Dubai World Cup racemeeting and the Godolphin Mile in 2010.

“I have been given great experiences, especially during my time in Ireland. Mr Mabrook helped to settle me in and I tried to take in as much as I could whilst I was there. Maybe I will return to Ireland or go somewhere like South Africa next summer.

“For the future, my dream is to one day ride in a Dubai World Cup race. I also hope His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will send me to one of the big international meetings”.

Al Mazrooei must have 70 wins under his belt before he can depart the apprentice ranks to become a fully-fledged jockey.