The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, the Dubai Racing Club and the Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club (Bahrain) have planned to open dialogues to strengthen relations within the regional horse racing industry and pursue the development of a coordinated regional racing offering.
Their dialogue over the next few months would cover topics such as coordination in equine quarantine and ease of travel as well as race scheduling and the sharing of knowledge and information among owners and breeders in the three countries to benefit all parties and eventually expand to include other countries in the wider GCC.
Currently, the GCC offers US$80.5 million in prize money across the various countries during the racing season spanning from October to April each year.
Each of the three jurisdictions to launch the talks already stage individual high profile international racing events - The Bahrain International Trophy is held in November; The Saudi Cup is at the end of February and the well-established Dubai World Cup Carnival season and Dubai World Cup race day spans from January to March.
“With an increasingly attractive racing offering already taking place across the region, we decided as a group that it was time to focus on ways to open up our racing to each other while simultaneously making it more attractive for internationals to come here, facilitating the progression of racing standards across the entire region,” said Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, “We are in the preliminary stages of these talks which will initially take place between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates but we are laying the foundations for a Gulf-wide cooperation that will benefit all of us and, we hope, the racing world at large offering summer and winter racing in the Middle East.”
“Horseracing holds a special place in the hearts of sports enthusiast in the region and their shared passion is a catalyst for engagement at all levels to develop a mutually beneficial program both within the Gulf and outside the region,” said His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of Bahrain’s Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club High Committee.
His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Racing Club, expressed his optimism at the joint cooperation. “By working together, we can open up new horizons to horse racing in the region, utilising widespread regional experiences in organising major international events.
“This will contribute to delivering the aspirations and desires of all involved parties within the racing industry, including owners, jockeys and trainers, creating a new roadmap to overcoming obstacles and facilitating progression."
The Chairman of the Dubai Racing Club pointed out that this ancient sport occupies a special place in the hearts of the people of the Gulf.
“This is a welcome step that will be promoted globally through the international races hosted by the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain and will continue to fuel the rapid growth we have seen in the industry at regional level,” he said.