Young Emiratis given Masar Godolphin taster
Dubai: Young Emiratis were given an introduction to Godolphin and its Masar scholarship programme at the Youth Hub in Emirates Towers on Wednesday in the first of a series of workshops leading up to next year’s third enrolment.
The nine-month course from January to October completed its first batch of eight Emirati students four months ago after the programme was formed at the beginning of last year.
A further nine Emiratis are currently undertaking the second edition of the initiative, which looks to fast-track entrants into a range of careers throughout the horse racing industry after vocational and academic placements at Godolphin stables in Dubai, Newmarket in England and Kildare in Ireland.
Two graduates from Masar’s first batch, Hussain Al Marzouqi and Hasna Ali — of the Class of 2017 — were on hand to introduce potential students from Dubai and Al Ain to the programme.
Students discovered how the modern thoroughbred racehorse had been a product of crossbreeding between Arabian studs and English mares in the 17th century, and what the horse had meant to ancient Arab civilisation.
This story then went full circle to explain why His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai — who studied in England and fell in love with the racing scene there — was so passionate about reigniting Arab involvement in the sport some 400 years later.
From here came the creation of Godolphin in 1992, one of the most successful racing outfits in the world, which gained success from Shaikh Mohammad’s vision to reconnect the racing world from its historic links and make use of combining the English summers with UAE winters for optimal year round training.
Shaikh Mohammad’s vision expanded to incorporate stables in Australia, Japan, the US, France and Ireland, and his ability to have reunited the sport was again epitomised in the creation of the Dubai World Cup in 1996, which annually brings thoroughbreds from all over the world back to their roots for the richest horse race on earth.
Students were also told of Shaikh Mohammad’s vision to ensure racing’s successful handover to future generations both internationally and at home, with his scholarship programmes.
As well as Masar for local students, there is also Flying Start, founded in 2003, which is a two-year course for 12 international students selected annually to take part in vocational and academic studies across stables within Godolphin’s global network, again fast-tracking them into careers across various fields in the industry. Current Flying Start students Joe Callan from Ireland and America’s Jessica Berry were also on hand to answer questions as well as Godolphin jockeys William Buick and James Doyle.
“It’s always been quite a sheltered sport,” said Buick. “You are either born into it or have the expertise, but now it’s really opened up and this is a great initiative. His Highness is setting a huge emphasis on youth in the community, government and horse racing alike.”
Doyle agreed: “His Highness has a massive vision for horse racing and I think we’re very lucky to have someone like him, a huge driving force behind racing, pushing it to greater heights. They are great programmes and plenty of successful people have come from them, now Masar gives local students the chance to get into the sport His Highness loves too and it’s great to be part of his vision.”