Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been the brain behind the Dubai International Race Day, held annually at Newbury, England to promote the best of Purebred Arabian racing. Image Credit: Courtesy: Organisers

Newbury: The 38th edition of the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR), which was held at Newbury Racecourse in the UK this weekend, was given the most ringing endorsement for helping put the sport firmly on the international map.

Initiated by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance in 1981, the event has provided Arabian Racing with the stage to showcase the best of Arabian horseracing.

Julian Thick, Managing Director and CEO of Newbury Racecourse, who have hosted the event since 2003, led the plaudits when he said: “Arabian racing could not be in better shape than it is today.

“What we have witnessed today is undoubtedly the very best of Arabian racing with winners coming from not just the UK, but countries like Belgium, France, Oman and Qatar. It is a testament to the sport’s growing appeal and it’s ability to engage with fans of flat racing.

“We at Newbury are delighted to have been part of the growth that the sport has seen, thanks to the exemplary efforts of Shaikh Hamdan, the DIAR Organising Committee and the trainers and owners of Purebred Arabian horses,” he added.

Newbury Racecourse is considered to be the home of Arabian racing and it’s no wonder that Dubai Race Day is the top draw for the sport’s best horses and knowledgeable fans.

The 28th edition of Dubai Race Day will always be remembered as being one of the grandest spectacles of Arabian racing and justifies its reputation as being one of the most prestigious events on the calendar.

Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of Shaikh Hamdan’s Office, who has been the chairman and driving force behind the DIAR Committee, was happy having overseen another successful Dubai Race Day.

“Every year Dubai Race Day surprises me in so many ways,” he said. “The response from Newbury Racecourse, the Arabian racing authorities in the UK, the sponsors, horsemen from around the world and last but no the least the fans, have shown us that we are doing the right thing.

“Shaikh Hamdan has created and supported this wonderful race day for 38 years and his passion remains the same as it was back in 1981 when the first event was held at Kempton Park, in the UK.

“All I can say at this point, is that we are looking forward to the 39th edition of Dubai Race Day and will go home and begin chalking out plan to ensure that it will be even bigger and better next July.”

Mansour Belhoul, the new UAE Ambassador to the UK, also had high praise for the event, which he was attending for the first time following his appointment earlier this year. “This event has exceeded my expectations, I couldn’t be more pleased to have been part of such a wonderful occasion,” he said.

“Sport, especially horse racing, is a great pathway between nations and I believe that it’s very import for me to to strengthen the ties that exist between the UAE and UK, through the sport of horse racing and flagship events like Dubai Race Day.”

Emirates Airline, the UAE Embassy in London, Jebel Ali Racecourse, Shadwell, Dubai Developments and Emirates NBD were the official sponsors of the race. Upnextdigital Limited were the sponsors of the Best Turned Out horse competition.

Winners of Dubai Race Day competitions

Arabian Rainbow painting

1st. Hungerford Primary School £2,500

2nd. Brightwalton Primary School £1500

3rd. Yattendon Primary School and St, Nocilas Primary School £1000

Best Dressed Lady

Daniella Butler won an air ticket to Dubai and a three-night stay courtesy Roda Hotels

Best ‘Selfie’

Brightwalton Primary School won an iPad

Best Children’s Hat

Abbie Webster (girls) and Wilf Butler (Boys) won an iPad Pro each.