SAudi horses
Mirza Al Sayegh, director of Shadwell and Miteb Al Sharammi, director of Prince Sultan Abdul Aziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia officially announce the sponsorship partnership between the two entities in Dubai on Wednesday. Image Credit: Leslie Wilson/Gulf News

Dubai: Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, will sponsor an entire race meeting in Saudi Arabia on December 19 as part of his efforts to grow Purebred Arabian racing worldwide.

Twelve months after Sheikh Hamdan began his sponsorship portfolio in Saudi Arabia by supporting a six-event card at the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, the Shadwell team returns to renew their commitment and investment in supporting horse racing in the Middle East.

All eight races, including a Group 3 contest, will benefit from Sheikh Hamdan’s patronage through Shadwell Stud Farm and its affiliates.

There are over 20,000 Purebred Arabian horses in Saudi Arabia, including racehorses, equestrian horses and show horses. Saudi Arabia’s breeding operation is second to none and Sheikh Hamdan’s support will come as a massive boost to the country, which is making massive strides to develop an all-round sporting profile as hosts of major events like boxing, tennis and snooker.

Speaking about the upcoming sponsorship in Saudi Arabia and its significance, Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of Sheikh Hamdan’s Office and a pivotal figure in his worldwide racing operations, said: “We visited Saudi Arabia last year for the first time and it was a huge success. Sheikh Hamdan opted to continue his sponsorship with the Saudi Arabian racing authorities in a big way to help Arabian racing flourish in both countries and around the world.

“The sponsorship underlines Sheikh Hamdan’s commitment to supporting the growth of Arabian racing in the country where the breed has a very bright future with the flourishing breeding operations in place,” he added.

“We look forward to a great day’s racing next Friday and to many more to come in Saudi Arabia.”

Also present at the official announcement was Miteb Al Shammari, Director of Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Racecourse, who praised the efforts of Sheikh Hamdan to support Arabian racing around the world.

Mirza Al Sayegh speaks to Gulf News on Wednesday. Leslie Wilson jr/Gulf News

“We are delighted to host a big eight-race card under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan, who is widely recognised and respected as one of the most influential men in the horse racing scene,” said A Shammari.

Faisal Al Rahmani, President of Arabian Horse Racing, praised the efforts of Sheikh Hamdan and the Saudi Arabian authorities for forging a relationship that he said will greatly benefit Arabian racing on many levels.

“This partnership underlines and strengthen Sheikh Hamdan’s commitment to helping Arabian racing grow in the Middle East and around the world,” Al Rahmani said.

“We at the federation are constantly looking for ways to take the sport forward and to another level. I believe that Arabian racing has come a long, long way in recent years and a lot of its success is due to the patronage of people like Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.”