Sheikh Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Shadwell chairman Mirza Al Sayegh and officials in Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Shadwell chairman Mirza Al Sayegh and officials in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: WAM

Riyadh: Having secured the future of Purebred Arabian horse racing Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, is now looking to further enhance the globalisation of the sport.

Sport is a universal language that helps link countries, governments, people and their ideas and Shaikh Hamdan believes that Arabian racing is currently on the cusp of entering a new ‘golden’ era.

Shaikh Hamdan’s renewed passion in promoting the sport is a result of the ground-breaking decision by the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) to integrate Arabian racing into the British flat-racing calendar in 2020.

Elaborating on Shaikh Hamdan’s future vision, Mirza Al Sayegh, the long-time director of his office said in Riyadh, earlier this week: “The acceptance of Arabian racing into the world of thoroughbred racing is a major step forward towards Shaikh Hamdan farsightedness in the global expansion of the sport.

“Globalisation will increase social contact with, raise Arabian racing’s image, bring in more prize money and increase spectatorship.

“Shaikh Hamdan has already praised the current status of the sport as he is thrilled to see new owners, new jockeys and new trainers participating,” Al Sayegh added.

“This only means one thing — Arabian racing is on an upward curve.

“After over 35 years of his continuous efforts to earn recognition for Arabian racing, Shaikh Hamdan has finally succeeded,” he continued.

“Shaikh Hamdan will not leave any stone unturned in his quest to strength the Arabian horse’s position worldwide. Arab horses now compete in Australia, North America, South America, across Europe and everywhere in the Middle East,” said Al Sayegh.

“However, there is one concern. While the population of the Arabian horse has double, there are not enough trainers in the business.

Al Sayegh said the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) committee that he heads as the chairman, which has helped promote Arab racing globally for the past 30 years, will look at ways to address issues and work closely with the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) to find solutions.

Al Sayegh was speaking at the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh, where Shaikh Hamdan was sponsoring an entire card of eight races as part of his commitment to support Arabian racing.

“This is promising vehicle to further develop the relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a sporting context,” he said.

“Shaikh Hamdan has also committed to sponsoring the event next year on December 17, that’s how far ahead he plans and thinks. He has also promised to send his horses to compete with the domestic runners.

“We will also urge top Arabian racehorse owners, breeders and trainers to participate in the Saudi event,” Al Sayegh added, saying that UAE champion owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda will be a key figure to approach.

“These are very exciting times for Arabian racing and we look forward to 2020 with enthusiasm and a lot of hope.”