Newbury: Britain may have endured it’s hottest day ever last week, but glorious weather prevailed at Newbury Racecourse on Sunday as the country played host to the 28th edition of the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR), the UK’s most prestigious race meeting for Purebred Arabian horses.
“Dubai Day”, as it is popularly known, has become the definitive centrepiece for the sport.
Sunday’s action highlighted the stature of the event with some of the most exciting flat racing of the season.
£200,000prize money on offer on Dubai Race Day
The event was created in 1982 by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, with the aim of offering racing fans the chance too enjoy the sport of Arabian racing and primarily to help more countries develop the sport internationally, through his support and sponsorship.
DIAR conducted a series of races across Europe this year, as qualifying races, to select the best of Arabian horses to compete for a prize money close to £200,000 (Dh900,486) at Newbury on the glittering finale.
The buzz at Newbury Racecourse was palpable, as a trio of horses owned by Shaikh Hamdan battled to the finish in the opening Emirates Premier Handicap Stakes, with seven-time UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea drawing first blood aboard the James Owen-trained Frenchbred Naishaan.
“It’s always nice to ride a winner in the colours of Shaikh Hamdan,” said O’Shea, who would later in the afternoon bring home a second winner in the form of Thamaraat, another Shaikh Hamdan star who was trained by former champion jockey Phil Cllington.
“Dubai Race Day is very special, just look at the crowds over here. I’ve ridden here for many years but I always find myself enjoying the opportunity to ride some of the best Arabian horses in the world at this beautiful racecourse.”
Highlighting the exciting eight-race card were three Group 1 contests, the first of which, the Jebel Ali Racecourse Za’abeen International Stakes, over a straight six furlongs, was won in brilliant fashion by Belgian raider Conchita D.A., the mount of woman jockey Anna Van Den Troost Peter-Deckers.
Adding to the international flavour of Dubai Race Day was second placed Macallan, who had come all the way from Sweden after winning a prep race.
“This is so very exciting,” said Peter Deckers. “She runs so fast. It was very thrilling. I’m so happy.”
Also enjoying the feeling of winning a Group 1 contest was jockey Ioritz Mendizabal, who rode a confident race aboard the YAS Horse Racing Management owner stable flag-bearer, Bayan.
Thierry Delegue, the racing manager to YAS owner Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, put the victory into context.
“We always knew that she was special. She proved it today and we can now forward to very exciting times in the future,” he said.
“She’s only four-years-old and we believe that she will be even better at five and over. We’ll campaign her at the highest level next year. So yes, we are very, very excited with this win.”
The event was attended by Shaikh Hamdan, Mansour Belhoul, the UAE Ambassador to the UK, several dignitaries from the Middle East and guests.
Emirates, UAE Embassy in London, Jebel Ali Racecourse, Shadwell, Dubai Developments and Emirates NBD were the official sponsors of the race while
Upnextdigital Limited were the sponsors of the “Best Turned Out horse”.