German official says the sport is moving slowly in the right direction

Frankfurt, Germany:  With the support of countries like the UAE and Qatar the German Racing Association of Purebred Arabians (DRAV) have embarked on the Herculean task of lifting the level of Purebred Arabian racing to that of European neighbours France.

Speaking to Gulf News in ahead of the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Listed) race at the Frankfurt racecourse today, DRAV Managing Director Hubert Lorenz admitted that it was an uphill task.

“To reach the level of breeding and racing that is currently the standard in France will take up many, many years but we are slowly moving in the right direction,” Lorenz said, lamenting the fact that there was not a single German runner in today’s Euros 15,000 Listed race.

Following are excerpts from the interview:

Gulf News: Where does Germany stand as far as Purebred Arabian racing is concerned?

Hubert Lorenz: It has been a sort of rollercoaster ride. In 1998 and 1999 we staged 41 Purebred Arabian races but those numbers have come down drastically. In 2006 we staged just 15 races but last year that number has risen to 26 and hopefully we will continue to stage more races.

What according to you is the main factor that is hampering the growth of Arabian racing here in Germany?

Primarily it is the prize money. But now with the UAE and Qatar stepping in to support our Arabian races there seems to be a renewed interest. In 1998 the average prize money per race was around 3,500 Euros. Now the average is over 9,000 Euros. This is some incentive to those who are small and private owners of Arabian horses.

What is the general reaction from the public and fans to Arabian racing?

With the Jockey Club that is involved in thoroughbred racing helping the Arabian racing scenario has improved since the humble start in 1977.

Major Arabian races are held during the weekend of the German Derby and Arabian races are held on important race meetings in major racing venues like Hamburg, Cologne, Baden-Baden and Frankfurt. During the German Derby nearly 50,000 fans attend and watch the Arabian races on the same card.