Too early to discuss the favourites for Ascot 2010 next June? Not in the least. Rabid betters are already carefully studying the champions. Favourites and runners are discussed on specialized sites like bettingroyal, where you can find detailed descriptions of the career of the most promising horses.
Impatient? Cannot wait until June? We have some great news for you: there is something exciting coming up already on May 8th. Arabian Purebreds! Yes, they will be back to Ascot after nine years.
The historic Berkshire track is hosting a listed PA mile-long race. The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) got approval from the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) Pattern Committee.
The history of Purebred Arabian racing in the UK is more than forty years long. Racing began in 1978, while the ARO was founded in 1999. The main patron of the ARO is HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince and deputy Prime minister of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Hamdan’s passion for thoroughbred flat racing was born in his student days in the UK. After establishing his first stables there in 1981, he founded the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR), that had started as ‘Dubai Day’ at the Kempton Park racecourse on the outskirts of London in 1984.
Arabian purebreds are racing all year round in 32 countries. ARO organizes about 50 races every season. Arabian racehorses, both purebred and thoroughbred, take part in maidens, handicaps, conditions and Group (Pattern) races.
In the UK though, Arabian racing was traditionally an amateur sport. The usual format was that of point-to-point courses run by volunteers. The vision to turn it into a professional sport has been promoted above all by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. Professional jockey in the UK may ride against amateurs in many races, as the situation currently stands. Arabian racing follow the rules and regulations of the British Horseracing Authority.
This is why the Arabian Purebred comeback to Ascot next spring will have a high symbolic but also a practical value. The last appearance of an Arabian there was that of the French filly Kiss De Ghazal, that won the 2011 President of the UAE Cup. The Cup had originally been established by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan. Its aim was the promotion of the unique characteristics of the Arabian horse. The “first time” of Arabian Purebreds at Ascot with the UAE Cup took place in the summer of 2009.
Not so long ago, taking into account Ascot’s 300-year tradition. The transition of Arab racing from amateur to professional is clearly the reason. ARO Commercial and Finance Director, Genny Haynes, points out that “the appetite for top class Arabian racing around the world continues to grow”.
The 2020 race will be open to international competitors and sponsored by Shadwell Stud. “This is an important time for Arabian racing and to stage a race at Ascot is a great way of raising the profile of the sport”, Shadwell Stud Director Richard Lancaster said.