AlBlooshi: From endurance champion to ERA steward

The Emirati is preparing for the biggest day of his life when he steps into the Meydan parade ring next Saturday for the 27th edition of the Dubai World Cup


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Rashid AlBlooshi. — Supplied photo
Rashid AlBlooshi. — Supplied photo

Published: Sat 18 Mar 2023, 11:40 PM

As an endurance rider, he developed a champion’s mindset that set him apart and helped him to elevate his performance zone to discover success in one of the most prestigious events in the world.

Now, Rashid AlBlooshi, who made history in 2013 when he won the inaugural Royal Windsor Endurance ride at the late Queen Elizabeth’s private estate of Windsor Great Park, is preparing for the biggest day of his life when he steps into the Meydan parade ring next Saturday for the 27th edition of the Dubai World Cup.

The horse-loving Emirati will be among an elite team of racecourse Stewards who will oversee the running of Dubai’s flagship event, which has attracted some of the best horses, jockeys, and trainers from around the world.

The primary objective of a Steward is to uphold the integrity of the sport in addition to being responsible for ensuring that the rules of racing are diligently adhered to.

“I’m really looking forward to this year’s Dubai World Cup meeting which promises to be one of the best renewals in recent years,’ AlBlooshi told the Khaleej Times.

“It’s a definite show-stopper that will be watched by thousands of fans at Meydan and across the globe. It’s huge.

“My role as one of the panel of Stewards headed by Sam Shinsky, is to fundamentally ensure the integrity of the sport is met, It’s the single most important thing in racing,” he said.

“As a Steward, you view the Dubai World Cup as a routine meeting, where the principles of racing are the same. The quality of the horse, rider, and size of attendance may differ but at the heart of it the racing must adhere to, and follow the everyday rules.

“As a Steward, you have to observe even the small details and put them into context with the bigger picture.”

Having been around horses all his life, AlBlooshi says that he took to Stewarding like a duck takes to water and recalled how it all began.

“My uncle, who was a show jumping judge, used to bring me to Nad Al Sheba Racecourse when I was a kid,” he said.

“Even then I knew I wanted horse racing to be an important part of my life.

“By 2008, I was riding in the major endurance races in the UAE as a member of the private stables in Marmoon. “In those days, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai) and Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai, were actively involved in the sport,” AlBlooshi said.

“Then in 2010, I was given a contract with Sheikh Mohammed’s Emaar endurance stables, during which time I had a lot of success and even won the Royal Windsor ride on a horse owned by His Highness. I also met The Queen on that occasion.”

Even as he was training and competing in rides around the UAE and the UK, AlBlooshi kept a fresh perspective on his academics and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Human Resources. He would also complete his Master’s Degree in General Management.

“Although racing was the first love I wanted to use what I had learned in college to find a career that would be more meaningful,” he said.

“I was travelling frequently to the UK during the summer months and was a regular at race meets and the Godolphin and Shadwell Stables in Newmarket. All along I was thinking I needed to move on from horse riding to join the racing industry.

“Then I got my lucky break when I met Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Board of both Dubai Racing Club and Dubai Equestrian Club, and told him of my interest in becoming a racing Steward,” said AlBlooshi.

“Sheikh Rashid was very excited and encouraged and motivated me to pursue my new dream, and I did.”

AlBlooshi was inducted into the ERA as a trainee steward in 2021 and worked for a full season watching and learning from the professionals. He would pick it up quickly and with the help and guidance of Shinsky, was soon offered a permanent role as a full Steward.

“It was amazing, I was learning so many things every day but I was still hungry to take in more information about the rules and regulations of Stewarding,” he said.

“The ERA sent me for training to the UK where I spent time with the British Horse Racing Authority and shadowed their Stewards at big meetings at Newmarket, Royal Ascot, Goodwood, York..everywhere.

“I was intrigued at the way Stewards functioned in different jurisdictions, like Ireland, France, and Australia. It was a good learning experience,” said AlBlooshi.

“I even attended racing conferences like the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), and the Asian Racing Conference in Australia.”

With all that knowledge under his belt, and his undying passion for horse racing, AlBlooshi has become a vital cog in the mechanism of horse racing management in the UAE.

And he wants to see more Emiratis follow in his footsteps.

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