For Purebred Arabian Racing in the UK 2021-24
Frequently asked questions:
These frequently asked questions are designed to give you a greater understanding of ARO and Arabian Racing, but if you’d like to know anything else please get in touch by visiting our Contact Us page.
How similar is the regulation of Arabian racing to Thoroughbred racing?
When the sport first began in the UK in 1978 it was restricted to amateur jockeys and trainers only and races were run at point-to-point courses under the guidance of the Jockey Club. As the sport has developed, though it retained its’ amateur status, races moved to licenced racecourses and Arabian racing was run with the support and permission of the British Horseracing Authority. Today the BHA Rules for Arabian Horseracing are nearly identical to those for thoroughbreds and are approved by them annually.
Many jockeys, trainers and officials who started their careers with ARO as amateurs have gone on to great success under rules in thoroughbred racing such as Tom Scudamore, Tom Marquand, Hollie Doyle, Rachel King, Jenny Candlish, Jonathan Portman, Rishi Persad, Sulekha Varma, Di Clarke and Michael Roberts.
From January 2021 further integration between UK Arabian racing and thoroughbred racing was announced with licenced thoroughbred trainers permitted to train Arabians alongside their thoroughbreds. For further details please visit the Trainers and Jockeys page.
Despite this move towards greater integration, the Arabian Racing Organisation remains the sole authority for the sport in the UK.
What levels of competition are there?
UK Arabian racing permits horses to start their careers from three years of age. As with thoroughbreds there are maiden races for horses that have not won a race, then as horses gain greater experience, there are novice races and handicaps as well as conditions races and Group (or ‘Pattern’) races.
Do Arabians compete internationally?
International competition in UK Arabian racing has been taking place for over thirty years, as part of a well-established International Pattern Calendar of Group and Listed PA races. Horses are assessed by the International Pattern Committee and allotted a rating to help facilitate competition. Many of the most valuable Group 1PA races take place at high profile thoroughbred meetings such as the Qatar International Stakes at the Goodwood Festival and the Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night.
How long does the season last?
Arabian racing takes place in over 30 countries all year round, however in the UK the season runs from Spring through to Autumn. The best horses may compete in Europe in the Summer and the Gulf states during the winter.
How do I get involved?
For more information on buying an Arabian racehorse, please visit the Sourcing Arabian Racehorses page. Horses may be purchased direct from a breeder, a trainer, an owner, or from the Arqana PA Sale in Paris every autumn.
To register as an owner or trainer, please visit the Regulations and Registration page. You must familiarise yourself with the BHA regulations for Arabian Horseracing before signing any registration forms.
Can I form a syndicate or join a Racing Club?
Yes. ARO actively encourages first time participants to get involved in ownership in this way, which is fun and affordable. Several of the established ARO trainers have their own racing clubs or have horses available for syndication. Please contact the ARO office for further information on partnerships, syndicates and racing clubs.