In response to the overwhelming demand for a unified data base of information on Purebred Arabian racing, the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival stepped in and announced that it would create one under its umbrella by the end of the year.
The announcement on Saturday, May 28, 2016, during the Workshop that brought the curtain down on the three-day World Arabian Horse Racing Conference (WAHRC) in Rome, Italy, was greeted with loud cheers by the nearly 500-strong fraternity of expert delegates from various fields, racing officials, owners, trainers, jockeys, media and representatives of sponsors of the Festival as it completed a successful organization of its 7th annual WAHRC.
“Under instructions from HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the Festival will set up a data base of all aspects of Purebred Arabian horses racing that will help promote the sport,” announced Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of Int’l Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR).
“We will work with Equibase, Racing Post, Paris Turf, the Emirates Racing Association, the Emirates Arabian Horse Society and many other such data providers but the main participants will have to be the respective National Federations and their Arabian Registers involved with the sport of Arabian horse racing,” she said.
Earlier, Sami Al Boueinen, Chairman of IFAHR, responded to criticism over the length of time it has taken to set up a database, highlighted the difficulties IFAHR faced, the main one being the inconsistent supply of information by race bodies/organisations in various member countries.
Ms Sawaya warned that the Festival would even consider pulling out its support to those countries not cooperating with proving quick and accurate information regarding their domestic racing calendar, data on horses, owners, trainers and jockeys as well as results. “This is the first step which will go a long way in the promotion of Purebred Arabian horse racing,” she said.
A large number of owners and trainers lamented the shortage of races, particularly in the UAE for Purebred Arabian races. Richard Mullen, supported by fellow jockey Xavier Ziani, said night time temperatures in late April and early May could allow for racing of Arabians to take place without risk while the ERA’s Yaser Mabrouk noted that it could be difficult. Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club racing director Pat Buckley felt it was better to have extra races per meeting than extend season.
This aspect and another major one concerning the disparity in rating of Arabian race horses in various countries were hotly debated and resulted in the second positive note coming out of the Workshop.
Ms Sawaya announced that a meeting of all owners, trainers, jockeys, racing officials and the media will gather in the UAE to discuss and find solutions to the issues of more races and a harmonised rating system.
Earlier on Saturday morning, the session on ‘Future of Arabian Racing’ had apart from Ms Lara Sawaya, Ed Murphy of the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Keith Brackpool of the Stronach Group of US racecourses, Boutros Boutros of Emirates airlines, Eduord Hamod of National Feed and Flour, Mubarak Al Nuaimi of TCA Abu Dhabi and Dr Abdulla Rayess of the National Archives.
Eduord Hamod, representing National Feed and Flour, the main sponsors of the WAHRC said, “We are supporting the Festival’s activities as we see a huge potential and growth of the sport through it.”
Dr Rayess said it was required to collate an archive of information, written and pictorial, on the history of Arabian racing and the modern development of the sport. “We will also help in the data base,” he said, later confirming that the site was also registered!.
Ed Murphy stressed the need to tell the stories behind the races in order to keep the audiences engaged over a longer period while Keith Brackpool said one had to move with times. “Entertainment options have evolved and expanded since the days when horse racing used to be the only live entertainment and sport. We have to cater to the changing demographic needs and keep pace with times,” he said.
The Conference ended on a positive note and over the three days, seven sessions and one Workshop was held with over 500 delegates drawn from around 80 countries in attendance.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, IPIC as Strategic Partner, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Al Aweer Stables, Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.