Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, has hailed the decision of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to integrate Purebred Arabian racing into the British flat-racing calendar in 2020 as ‘ground breaking.’

The integration will bring about a much-need standardisation of regulatory practices within Purebred Arabian racing alongside the well-established thoroughbred racing world.

The decision has received the approval of British racing’s Executive Committee and the BHA, the sport’s governing body.

Speaking on behalf of Shaikh Hamdan, Mirza Al Sayegh, the director of his office and global racing affairs said: “Finally, after years and years of trying we have finally succeeded in securing recognition for our sport.

“The is a massive boost for Purebred Arabian racing on several level, not least financially, and it means one thing — the sport is set to enter a new era of growth and development.

“Shaikh Hamdan has tirelessly worked hard to see Arabian racing earn recognition by the thoroughbred industry. The journey began over 30 years ago and today we are reaping the rewards,” he added.

“Shaikh Hamdan has commended all those people who were part of the campaign to promote Arabian racing globally over the years and owes this ground breaking victory to them.

Al Sayegh noted that the success and popularity of the annual Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) at Newbury Racecourse in the UK, of which he is the Chairman and driving force, has played a pivotal role in leveraging this decision of the BHA.

Faisal Al Rahmani, Chairman of the International Arab Horse Racing Association (IFAHR), Arabian racing’s governing body, said that the ‘golden era’ of Arabian racing was around the corner.

“This is validation that Purebred Arabian racing has finally been accepted into the world of thoroughbred racing,” he said. “This is a big deal, it changes everything for our sport. Changes it for the better.

“We are so excited and can’t wait to look at ways to further develop our sport. The sky is the limit and we will do everything possible to propel it to a bright new future.”

Al Rahmani lauded the efforts of Arabian racing’s principal patrons, Shaikh Hamdan and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, for their commitment towards earning recognition for the sport.

It is understood that a phased implementation will now take place over the next 12-18 months which will be funded by Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) with help from the Racing Foundation.

Charles Gregson, ARO Chairman commented: “This is the most significant breakthrough for our sport since we began racing under the guidance of the BHA following our inception.

“It has always been the vision of our Patron, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that Arabian racing would be fully integrated alongside the British thoroughbred racing industry.

“We acknowledge the role that Dubai International Arabian Races and its’ supporting series has played in encouraging overseas participation, and also of our other major sponsors, the President of the UAE Cup, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, the Royal Cavalry of Oman and the Shaikh Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, all of which have supported ARO and Arabian Racing in Great Britain for many years.”

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer of the BHA, assured that ‘the BHA is committed to bringing its expertise and experience as British racing’s governing body and regulator to raise the high standards in place in Purebred Arabian racing still further.’

“We will continue to work closely with ARO as we scope out the various options for what increased regulatory integration will look like and will give more detail in due course as we move towards implementation next year.”