London: A senior official of the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) has called for more funding and support from the media to help propel Purebred Arabian racing to a higher level in the United Kingdom.
Speaking to members of the media at Newbury racecourse yesterday, Georgina Tomkins, the ARO's Director of Racing said she was confident that the message was getting across but it was a 'slow' process.
"Arabian racing is still very much an amateur sport and it needs all the support it can get," she said. "I think the prize money is major shortcoming as most of it is directed to the big races, while the smaller handicaps offer small purses which are not enough to attract the trainers and owners.
"I also think that the UK media has a major role to play in the development of Arabian racing. Right now the sport does not get the support that it requires from the media here and until that happens it will always be seen as a poor cousin to thoroughbred racing."
However, Tomkins, who has been at the helm of Purebred Arabian racing since 2006, praised the role over events like the Dubai Summer Festival which starts at Newbury racecourse on Saturday.
The three-day festival which is sponsored by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, under the umbrella of Shadwell Stud farm, will culminate in the 27th running of the Dubai International Arabian Race Day on Sunday.
Arabian racing's flagship event will offer a record £119,000 in prize money for the day's seven races including the featured Group 1 Shadwell Dubai International Stakes.
"The support that we have had from Shaikh Hamdan is phenomenal," said Tomkins.
"His contribution has been tremendous and is vital to sport's growth in this country.
"Shaikh Hamdan has extended his sponsorship to cover the two thoroughbred race days at the traditional July fixture and has given new direction to the Group 3 Shadwell Stakes and the Listed Shadwell Beech Stud Stakes which join the Weatherbys Super Sprint on a cracking Saturday's card.