The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was delighted with the significant increase on 2016 figures following the close of entries for the handicaps and the supplementary stage for the international contests on the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) card, this afternoon. DIAR promotes Purebred Arabian racing worldwide from the grass-roots to the highest level, with the flagship event organised under the generous patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The 189 entries (up on last years’ 158), include the defending title holders in every Group 1 PA race, in Muraaqib, Sylvine Al Maury and Radames, as well as Foaad, winner of the international conditions race. In addition, both Kamikaze and Zayin Zachilles could defend their 2016 respective wins in the Roda Hotels and Resorts Premier Handicap and the UAE Embassy Handicap, the last two races of the eight-race card.
The feature race of the meeting, the Shadwell Dubai International Stakes, Gr1 PA, has attracted the highest number of entries, with no less than 30 horses, of which 25 are rated over 100. They include ARO and DIAR patron, HH Sheikh Hamdan’s homebred Muraaqib, who has already opened his account this year, winning a Group 1 in France on his reappearance; he could re-oppose the second, Mehdaaf Athbah, who also holds an entry.
With 25 entries is the Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes, Gr1 PA, which is headed by the Elizabeth Bernard trained Sylvine Al Maury. For the second year running the Royal Cavalry of Oman’s mare finished her campaign as the top-rated Purebred Arabian mare in the world. One filly who could challenge her supremacy is Naziq, also trained by Bernard, she was a dual Group winner last season and was runner up in a Group 2 on her seasonal debut.
Shadwell Stud Director, Richard Lancaster commented: “The number of entries for this year’s Dubai International Arabian Races is outstanding and is great testament to how important the event has become in the Arabian racing calendar.
“The DIAR prep races have played a vital role in boosting participation – all four winners from the last round of prep races in Holland are expected to run, which is fantastic and a huge thank you to the connections of those horses for their continued support. The stage is set for a great day’s racing.”
Gemma Cobb, ARO Racing Operations Executive said: “ARO is thrilled with this significant increase, as of course this continues the trend set last year. It is also very pleasing to see six defending title holders make entries, as well as other top class international and domestic horses. DIAR at Newbury on 30th July promises to be a really exciting day and is always the highlight of the ARO racing calendar. Declarations close on Wednesday 26th July, with jockey declarations due the following day.”
She concluded: “The DIAR Prep Race scheme has been a great addition, helping to promote the fixture across Europe, together with the other incentives, which I’m sure have been instrumental in gaining these increases. Hopefully we may see one or more of the Prep Race winners or placed horses secure a bonus race on DIAR and thereby claim their additional prize money as Urge Di Gallura did last year.”