Al Sayegh predicts a rosy future for Arabian races

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Al Sayegh predicts a rosy future for Arabian races
Mirza Al Sayegh, chairman of the organising committee of the Dubai International Arabian Race Day.

Dubai - DIARD chairman refuses to compare it with Thoroughbred industry.

By Riturn

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Published: Fri 24 Jul 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 24 Jul 2015, 9:10 AM

Despite the ongoing debate on the qualities of the Arabian horse and the future of Arabian races in Europe and elsewhere, Mirza Al Sayegh, chairman of the organising committee of the Dubai International Arabian Race Day (DIARD), is confident that everything is going ahead of plan and the time has come for the Arabian horse races to support themselves without more subsidies.
"This must not be taken to mean that plans are there to stop our support for the Arabian races. This festival is a unique one where members from five ruling families in the Gulf (UAE, KSA, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain) meet together in one place," he said.
"The wise leadership of the UAE is targeting other objectives apart from promoting the Arabian horse worldwide. It's a social, economic and sport campaign to furtherance the image of our country around the globe," he noted.
"People are repeatedly talking about the Arabian horse to be bred for beauty, agility, intelligence, courage, endurance, and romance and not for racing. But, I would like to remind them that speed became feasible to develop with the employment of recent breeding, feeding and training technology.
"We are not here to compare this newly-born sport with the well-established Thoroughbred industry where sponsors are attracted with the far-reaching media coverage and the wide and varied audience.
"We have learned from our previous experience that the staging of one Arabian horse race as part of a Thoroughbred card is not helpful while sponsoring a full day-card keeps the spectators excited. "The prospects are very promising and you will soon realise that the Arabian races can survive without sponsorship.
"It's irrelevant to say that Arabian horses can compete against or even become parallel to the Thoroughbred horses, at least in the foreseeable future. It will take time and effort," he added.
"For over 20 years, we were able to convince the Jockey Club to allow professional jockeys to ride Arabian horses and this was the first step in the right direction. Racing UK and other leading international TV Channels are streaming Arabian races live, with the Racing Post publishing their race cards and William Hill becoming the first bookmakers in the UK to take off course bets on an Arabian race meeting," he noted.
"I believe the only hurdle which we need to clear is the lack of a reliable database. Information about Arabian races results are not properly gathered, classified, analyzed and recorded," he said.
Meanwhile, Al Sayegh welcomed Dubai Duty Free as the most recent sponsors of the DIARD and thanked the DDF representative Salah Tahlak for attending the festival for the first time.
"I have been directed by Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, to make necessary amendments to include the DDF which is a great honour for us and another evidence that we are right on the track," he said. "Let's speak about the new generations. We are receiving regular calls from schools students asking about the chances of riding Arabian horses.
"Owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys target the DIARD to send their horses because of the great benefits they used to generate from taking part in such prestigious races which carry the highest prize-money in the world," he said.
hisham@khaleejtimes.com



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