For the past 36 years Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, has passionately and tirelessly promoted Purebred Arabian on the global stage.
Through his patronage, and with the help of the Dubai International Arabian Racing (DIAR) series that he created, the sport has grown significantly resulting in race meeting being held at Chelmsford, Newbury and Chepstow in the UK, Toulouse and La Teste in France, as well as at Capannelle in Italy, Holland, Sweden, Lone Star Park in Texas.
Until recently Australia was an integral part of the programme until relations between DIAR and the National Arabian Racehorse Association Ltd (NARA), the Australian Arabian Racing Authority, began to sour.
Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of Shaikh Hamdan’s Office and the driving force behind the Arabian series that is constantly on the lookout for new frontier, explains: “Following Shaikh Hamdan’s advice, we have been looking at South America as an exciting new destination.
“The respect the racing authorities in South America have expressed to us, to Shaikh Hamdan and the UAE, has been amazing. They are as enthusiastic as us to stage Arabian Racing in their country.
“The Ambassadors of both the UAE and countries in South America have been working very rapidly to make this happen. The talks have been very promising and we are very close to hosting Arabian races in place like Chile and Argentina,” said Al Sayegh.
“This is in total contrast to what has happed in Australia who have shown little or no interest. So, following Shaikh Hamdan’s orders, we have suspended all contacts and all sponsorship of Arabian racing in the country.
“The NARA has not been clear in their dialogues and are clearly not on good terms with the various racecourses in the country,” he stated. “They would suggest a racecourse to stage our series, but once preparations were being made, we received a letter from the racecourse telling us that there was no deal. The races would not happen.
“It was shocking, because we had made all the arrangements for the event and had even made the announcement about our event. It left us so embarrassed and we had no choice but to send the NARA a very strong letter, through our lawyers, asking them to sort out the matter. So at this point we have suspended all our interests in Australia until we see some improvement and professionalism from their side.”
Shaikh Hamdan is one of the world’s most influential owner/ breeders of thoroughbred, and Arabian horses. Shadwell, his global breeding operation has been fully committed to the cause of owning and breeding top-class racehorses.
Shaikh Hamdan is also patron of the British-based Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO), which has its headquarters at Newbury where the DIAR holds its most important meeting of the year each June, with three Group 1 contests on the card.