Saleha Ahmad Al Ghurair, Emirati trainer Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Saleha Al Ghurair has etched her name in the history books as the first-ever Emirati female trainer and breeder for Pure Arabians.

Al Ghurair, who acquired a professional trainer’s licence in 2012, has had her fair share of success with Purebred Arabians over the years. She has been there long enough to understand the fundamentals of her trade. Al Ghurair is appreciative of the global resurgence of the Purebred Arabian race around the globe, but in the same breath she states without mincing words that a lot can be done to further enhance its popularity, especially in the UAE.

“Pure Arabian Racing has grown, certainly, but we don’t get more opportunities to compete,” says Al Ghurair, who reasoned that the rating system was hurting most of the trainers and breeders here. “I think the handicap for UAE breed horses should be treated more fairly. UAE breed means they represent our culture. A UAE-bred horse does win like the horses from abroad, but when they put the rating for our horses it is not fair,” says Al Ghurair, questioning the authenticity behind the rating system.

“UAE-bred horses don’t get better ratings and that’s why only a couple or so make it to the Kahayla Classic. They take French breeds, American breeds to go in Kahayla. I don’t know, maybe they don’t consider the time. The maths behind the rating we trainers, not just me, all of us don’t understand. This rating is mostly done by one person and I think we have to do more research and go in depth regarding it.”

Al Ghurair believes homebred horses are very much at parity with overseas horses and can emerge as the best if they are provided the right platform.

On par

“I feel UAE breeds are not behind and we are at par because it depends on the breed, who is the father and mother. What we need to do is focus more on providing chances for UAE bred horses. More prize money and races for the UAE breed. I want a race in the World Cup only for UAE bred horses. I would love to see that happen one day,” says Al Ghurair, adding that breeding a top-class Arabian horse in the UAE has become a reality.

“It’s an Arabian horse we are talking about which is born here and then goes overseas. Then why can’t we breed the best horses here? The horses which come here, come with a push from outside. If you see the running for all those horses, you will see they came fourth, fifth but still will have a rate of 70. They put a big rate so people can buy them.”