As groom-rider Abdul Musa Adam leads out Shadn at Royal Ascot today, he will inspire many on the eve of World Refugee Day and illustrate the positives of welcoming child refugees.
Described as a “remarkable young man” by Racing TV’s Nick Luck in February, Abdulkareem Musa Adam was raised by a tribe of nomads in Darfur. When he was just 7 years old, the Sudanese army killed his entire family and burnt his home to the ground, but now, this afternoon, this groom-rider will lead out Shadn at Royal Ascot for the Commonwealth Cup.
After escaping by donkey with his 3-year old brother Yusuf, the pair survived refugee camps in Chad and then in Libya, he tried to find work aged 12. Parted from his sole surviving relative, he was captured by Colonel Gadaffi’s forces and after refusing to join his ‘child army,’ was imprisoned and tortured.
Next, after a ‘Guardian Angel’ Russian doctor helped him by disguising him as a hospital cleaner and smuggled him out via a bin and in the boot of a car, Musa Adam travelled to France aged 13. He thought he would be safe there, but ended up sleeping in industrial bins to keep warm. With no identification papers, this teenage refugee struggled for 18 months, but after being discovered by a man in a church named Antonio was not only fed tuna sandwiches daily, but also given hope for the future. Antonio ultimately helped Musa Adam in his successful attempt to smuggle himself to Britain in the wheel arch of a lorry.
Believing he was going to “England [a place that] means peaceful, you can study, you can improve your life,” the youngster spent what must have been a terrifying 15 hours in the most perilous of conditions. He totally randomly ended up “dumped at a petrol station” near Swindon in Wiltshire and was picked up by the police.
Here, granted asylum as a refugee and with the help of Social Services and then Greatwood, “a charity which uses horses to help young people facing difficulties and challenges,” Musa Adam was provided with assistance and ultimately a foster home. His “childhood passion for horses” was reignited whilst recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder and a “most remarkable journey in sport” commenced.
Musa Adam spent time with Niki Evans in Abergavenny and attended the Northern Racing College in Doncaster in 2016 subsequently. He progressed to a full-time job as a stable lad with Andrew Balding at his Kingsclere Park House Stables yard and amazingly won the ‘Young Achiever’ at the Mirror’s ‘Pride of Sport Awards’ in 2016.
Referencing the “friend” whom she has “been writing a book together [with] for three years,” in the Mirror this morning, journalist Ros Wynne-Jones declared: “[Abdul Musa Adam] couldn’t be a better example of what safety and kindness can give to a human being who has escaped war, torture and trafficking after becoming a refugee at the age of eight. Britain is lucky to have him, and he is grateful to have a safe home.”
Speaking of him also, racing legend Clare Balding added: “His story shows the incredible power of sport to bring people together and help them to heal, even after the most appalling suffering.”
Hardworking Abdul Musa Adam – who is now a British citizen and whose day begins at 6am and finishes at midnight – himself concludes:
“Racing, riding, horses… After more riding, I feel more happy… I am so grateful I have found safety… I feel that this is my home now. I believe I can find [my brother] one day; I hope, I can.”
Now and still only 22 years old, today horse loving Abdul Musa Adam’s spectacular journey will continue when he leads out Shadn at Royal Ascot. We join all celebrating his remarkable progress to the paddocks of Royal Ascot.
‘The Journey: An Inspiring True Story of Courage and Hope,’ co-authored by Abdul Musa Adam with Ros Wynne-Jones, is available to pre-order on Amazon priced at £8.99.
After delighting readers yesterday in calling both Stradivarius first (for the third time) in the Gold Cup and a place for Cross Counter also, today we are looking at:
3.00pm – Hardwicke Stakes
WIN – Ryan Moore-A.P. O’Brien combo Anthony Van Dyck at 11/4 (The Sun NAP, Daily Mail ‘Danger’, Sporting Life, Racing Post ’Spotlight Nap’, GG.co.uk).
Racing Post says: “Very good second in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket 14 days ago; big chance on that form.”
For them, Ben Hutton ’Spotlight Nap’ adds: “Back on track with very good second in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket 14 days ago and big chance on that form on this relatively quick return.”
Templegate, The Sun adds: “Ran his best race since winning the Derby when chasing home potential superstar Ghaiyyath in the Coronation Cup last time. That race was moved from its usual Epsom home to Newmarket and the Aidan O’Brien-trained four-year-old was gaining with every stride at the line. He beat some fair yardsticks like Defoe there and it’s hard to see last year’s winner of this race turning that form around. This trip is ideal for AVD and he goes on fast or slow so the weather isn’t a worry either.”
3.35pm Commonwealth Cup (16 runners)
EACH WAY – Magnier, Smith and Tabor owned Ryan Moore-A.P. O’Brien combo Lope Y Fernandez at 4/1 (Radio 4, The Telegraph).
Racing Post says: “Third in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last Friday; effective at 6f last year; not dismissed.”
Templegate for The Sun adds: “Lope Y Fernandez ran a cracker when third to Siskin in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and warrants respect.”
It’s a longshot, but with the inspirational Abdul Musa Adam leading him out, we suggest also:
EACH WAY – Oisin Murphy-Andrew Balding combo Shadn at 20/1.
Racing Post says: “Needs improvement on the figures but worth noting that she’s 3-4 over 6f.”
4.10pm – Queen’s Vase (9 runners)
EACH WAY – William Haggas trained Born With Pride at 5/2 from 3/1 earlier (Radio 4, Daily Mail Gimcrack ‘Danger’, The Telegraph).
Racing Post says: “Listed winner on debut last season and not seen to best effect on her comeback; respected.”
Daily Mail adds: “Born With Pride, a winner on heavy ground on her Newmarket debut last autumn, was a non-runner earlier this week and connections appear to have done the right thing with the ground sure to suit.”
4.40pm – Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (18 runners)
EACH WAY – William Buick-Mark Johnston combo West End Charmer at 6/1 (The Sun, At The Races – Kevin Blake).
Racing Post says: “Stamina still to prove at this trip but lightly raced colt is 5lb well-in under a penalty.”
Templegate for The Sun says: “West End Charmer was impressive when running away with a hot handicap at Newmarket 12 days ago. He was coming back from a year off so, provided that hasn’t taken too much out of him, he should improve again for this step up in distance. He is well handicapped under a 4lb penalty.”