Arabian Racing Organisation, The Curragh

Recent News


The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) are delighted that Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) confirmed today that the Qatar International Stakes will go ahead as part of the Qatar Goodwood Festival 2020 on the rescheduled date of Saturday August 1st. Held over a mile on the historic Sussex Downs, the Group 1 PA contest forms the first stage of the Qatar Triple Crown.

Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) CEO Nasser Bin Sherida Al Kaabi commented: “Supporting and Promoting Arabian racing at this difficult time is an achievement which QREC has been able to realise through coordination with ARO and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA)  and we do appreciate their cooperation. This year’s edition will be exceptional as it comes during the Covid-19 pandemic and the related new challenges. Therefore, racing at the Qatar Goodwood Festival will remain special as ever”.

For 2020, the race will be run for an agreed prize fund of £200,000 with prize money down to sixth place. This is in-line with the reduction of thoroughbred prize money across the board due to Covid19, but it is still the most valuable Purebred Arabian race in the UK.

QIS Goodwood 2020 Brochure:

Following the BHA Resumption of Racing update of June 5th, the race will be open to international runners, but all entrants must comply with the relevant UK government rules and the BHA’s guidelines and operating procedures for racing behind closed doors. The UK government guidelines for quarantine for international travel are due for review on June 29th so further revisions are anticipated.

ARO remains committed to updating all its’ participants and stakeholders with all relevant information throughout Covid19. ARO is also dedicated to supporting the entrants and their connections in order to enable their safe participation and a successful and competitive race for their sponsors.

ARO Finance and Commercial Director Genny Haynes commented: “We are most grateful for the continued support by Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club of UK Arabian racing at this most challenging time. Though our season has been pushed back in the calendar due to the current circumstances, we are delighted to finally get underway a Group 1 PA race and look forward to announcing the remainder of the seasons’ races in due course.”

Ebraz (Maxime Guyon) winning the 2019 Qatar International Stakes Gr 1PA at Goodwood


With British thoroughbred racing resuming today, Monday June 1st, the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) board wish to clarify the current situation with regards to the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR), scheduled for July 26th at Newbury racecourse.

Due to a number of factors arising from the Covid-19 situation, it has been decided that it is in the best interests of the sport, its’ participants and sponsors that the meeting be postponed until later in the year. ARO, Shadwell Stud and the DIAR Committee are actively sourcing an alternative date and are fully committed to keeping all participants informed as the situation develops.

ARO continues to hold positive discussions with British Horseracing Authority and are thankful for their support and understanding of the need to resume UK Arabian racing as soon as it can be accommodated into the revised calendar.

The ARO board thanks His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the DIAR Committee, Shadwell Stud, Newbury Racecourse, Sportsguide and all of ARO’s registered participants for their on-going support and commitment to DIAR 2020.

Margreet de Ruiter-Floor

Margreet de Ruiter-Floor and Munya Farah after winning the Wathba Stud Farm Cup Premier Handicap Stakes at Newbury in 2013.

The Arabian Racing Organisation was saddened to hear of the passing of successful Dutch owner-breeder Magareet de Ruiter-Floor. Instrumental in the organisation of Dutch Arabian racing, along with her husband Weiger de Ruiter, she represented the Dutch Arabian Racing Committee (DARC) within IFAHR.

She was also a big supporter of UK Arabian racing over six seasons. The highlights being the Newbury victories of Burnet and Munya Farah in the Emirates NBD International Stakes and the Wathba Stud Farm Cup Premier Handicap ridden by Tadhg O’Shea and James Doyle respectively, both were trained by Gill Duffield. She also enjoyed success with UK amateur riders including Phil Collington, Stephen Harrison and Matt Johnson.

Racing abroad with the Duffield trained Periander, in 2011 they won the Emirates Championship (Gr1PA) in Abu Dhabi, ridden by Adrie de Vries and Istanbul’s IFAHR Trophy (Gr2PA) ridden by Richie Mullen.

ARO sends their condolences to her family; she will be sorely missed within the Arabian racing community worldwide.

ARO Update 26.5.20 – BHA Guidelines & Operating Procedures May 2020


As you will be aware British Horseracing is hoping for a return to racing on Monday 1st June (subject to Government approval) with a restricted fixture list through to 31st August 2020.  The attached document issued by the BHA on Friday outlines the guidelines and operating procedures for racing behind closed doors for ALL attendees in context of Covid-19 (May 2020).

This is a very detailed and comprehensive document for all attendees on a raceday until further notice. This document will be subject to change over the coming weeks as lockdown measures hopefully continue to be lifted.

PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION CAREFULLY so that you are fully aware of all implications, operations and actions that will be in place at all racecourses and we will need to adhere to when an Arabian race takes place.

BHA Guidelines & Operating Procedures May 2020

Update regarding UK Pattern races

Update regarding UK Pattern races

Due to the ongoing Covid19 crisis the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) board have decided that when Arabian racing resumes in the UK, all UK Pattern races will be subject to a six-day entry system. There will be no early closing or supplementary stages.

ARO is fully committed to keeping you updated of any changes throughout the coming weeks.

Thank you for your support of UK Arabian racing and #staysafe

BHA extended suspension of racing and the impact on UK Arabian racing

Last week the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced that the suspension of racing, which is due to finish at the end of April, is to be extended. The BHA did not set a new date for ending the suspension, but plans are in place so that the sport is ready to resume as soon as is possible and appropriate in consultation with government. The BHA remain in constant contact with government and are ready to respond quickly.

The BHA has been working with trainers, racecourses and other participants, including the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO), to develop a phased plan for resumption which will allow the sport to transition back to its normal fixture list later in the year.

The ARO 2020 season was due to commence last Friday, April 17th. ARO have been liaising with the BHA as to when the season may commence and in order to give clarity to participants and supporters of Arabian racing, we can confirm there will be no Arabian racing until 1 July 2020 at the earliest.

ARO is fully committed to keeping you updated of any changes throughout the coming weeks.

British Racing’s coronavirus response

Please follow the link to the latest information from the British Horseracing Authority and Public Health England by clicking on the respective icons below:


The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) warmly welcomed the announcement from the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) Committee regarding the increased investment in the DIAR programme for 2020. Five of the eight races at DIAR on July 26 at Newbury racecourse will receive an increase in prize money, which brings the total value of the card to £212,500.

The most significant increase of £10,000 is to the feature race, the Shadwell Dubai International Stakes (Gr1PA), which now has a prize fund of £68,000. The 1m2f contest has been won by many of the world’s most successful Arabian horses, including Bengali D’Albret, Dormane, No Risk Al Maury and more recently Gazwan and Muraaqib. The Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes (Gr1PA) is also run over 1m2f and has been boosted by £5,000 to £40,000. Exclusively for fillies and mares, the race also has an impressive list of multiple Gr1PA past winners which includes Sylvine Al Maury and Djainka Des Forges.

The DIAR International Stakes (Gr3PA) will now be worth £26,500; run over 7f it is for three-year-olds only. The form of the race was recently enhanced by the Gr1PA victory of the 2019 winner, Methgal, who became the first horse since Manark to progress to top level success.

Also in receipt of additional funds is the UAE Embassy in London International Stakes (+ £2,000) and the Emirates NBD Handicap Stakes (+£1000). The renewal of the travel allowances for international runners at DIAR on July 26 and the DIAR bonus fund has already been confirmed with further details to follow.

Genny Haynes, ARO Commercial and Finance Director, commented: “We are thrilled that the DIAR Committee has boosted the prize money for DIAR 2020 by over £19,000 and we also recognise the importance of the increased support for the DIAR races in Italy and France.  The success of DIAR 2019 and the prep race series was evident in the number of entries received and in particular, the significant increase in international horses declared. It confirms the growing appetite for international Arabian racing at the highest level, which we at ARO are delighted to encourage as it is part of our patron HH Sheikh Hamdan’s vision for the day.

“DIAR consistently produces competitive racing of the highest quality at all levels, a fact acknowledged by the prize money increase not only to our feature race, but to the grass-roots handicap as well.”

Concluding she said: “We thank HH Sheikh Hamdan and the DIAR committee for their generous and ongoing commitment to Arabian racing. We eagerly await the start of the 2020 DIAR series, which begins on April 19 in Rome, with our first domestic DIAR prep race on June 11.”


19 April                  Capanelle, Rome, ITALY                   3 international Arabian races, including 1 Gr3PA, 1 Listed PA

11 June                  Newbury, UK                                         1 international Arabian race

12 June                  Chepstow, UK                                       1 Arabian races (UK domestic horse only)

14 June                  Bro Park, Stockholm, Sweden       3 Arabian races, including 1 Gr3PA

23 June                  Newbury, UK                                         1 international Arabian race

28 June                  Duindigt, The Netherlands             3 Arabian races including 2 Listed PA races

29 June                  La Teste de Buch, France                 3 international Arabian races, including 1 Gr2PA, 1 Gr3PA

2 July                      Newbury, UK                                         1 international Arabian race

9 July                      Newbury, UK                                         1 international Arabian race

26 July                    Newbury, UK                                        8 Arabian races, including 2 Gr1PA, 1 Gr2PA, 1 Gr3PA



His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said 1940 – 2020

The Arabian Racing Organisation offers their sincere condolences following the passing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said on Friday January 10.

Sultan Qaboos was the fourteenth-generation descendant of the founder of the House of Al Said, and was the longest-serving leader in the Arab world. Born in Salalah in Dhofar on 18 November 1940 His Majesty was an only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur and Sheikha Mazoon al-Mashani. Educated in England, in Bury St Edmunds and later at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, he joined the British Army on graduation, and served in Germany for one year. Returning to Oman in 1966, with British support he took over from his father in 1970. He immediately set about modernising Oman, using oil revenues to fund development in a country which at that time, had only six miles of roads and three schools. Changing the country’s name from ‘Muscat and Oman’, he established the Sultanate of Oman, to better reflect its political unity.

Described as charismatic and visionary, Sultan Qaboos brought an end to Oman’s international isolation and pursued a neutral path in foreign affairs. He was able to position himself as a trusted mediator in the region’s tensest situations and received the International Peace Award from the National Council for US-Arab relations in 1998. In his first year as Sultan, slavery was abolished in Oman; granting freedom of religion, though the country is predominantly Muslim, he financed the construction of Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as several Hindu temples.

His Majesty founded the Royal Cavalry of Oman with just 20 horses, today they far exceed that number. Commanded by Brigadier General Abdulrazak Al Shahwarzi, the Royal Cavalry oversees a whole range of equestrian activities including racing, show jumping, polo, breeding and the ceremonial duties for which they are famous worldwide.

For over ten years, the Royal Cavalry of Oman has been one of the UK’s leading advocates of Arabian racing, through both sponsorship and competition. They have supported the Arabian Racing Organisation with racing at all levels, from the grass-roots of the sport, to their most valuable race, the Royal Cavalry of Oman Clarendon Stakes, a Group 3PA run over five furlongs. The highlight of their sponsorship has always been the Sultanate of Oman Day, to which they have frequently brought their traditional Arabic tent, offering dates and Arabic coffee to educate racegoers about Oman and its’ culture.

Thanks to the vision of His Majesty, they have developed their own racing and breeding programme. With the recent success of homebred horses such as three-time Group 1PA winner, Nafees, the future for Omani as a respected competitor in global Arabian racing looks bright.

The Arabian Racing Organisation welcomes His Majesty Hathim bin Tariq al-Said who was sworn in as Sultan Qaboos’s successor on Saturday.


Purebred Arabian racing to be integrated further into British racing from 2020

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), together with The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO), has today announced the further regulatory integration of Purebred Arabian (PA) racing into British racing in 2020.

This is to further align the regulatory practices within PA racing with thoroughbred racing and follows approval from British racing’s Executive Committee and the BHA Board.

A period of further scoping work followed by a phased implementation will now take place over the next 12-18 months which will be funded by ARO with help from the Racing Foundation.

Currently the fixture list and regulations of PA racing are approved by the BHA, with the BHA also providing integrity services for any PA races on thoroughbred cards and for premier PA standalone fixtures.

This commitment by the BHA and ARO will see further integration of regulatory procedures, which might include areas such as more closely aligning the licensing requirements of ARO stable yards with those under Rules, harmonisation of ARO Regulations with the Rules of Racing and the alignment of other raceday regulatory functions, though the exact scope of changes will be determined in due course.

Charles Gregson, ARO Chairman commented:

“This is the most significant breakthrough for our sport since we began racing under the guidance of the BHA following our inception. It has always been the vision of our Patron, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that Arabian racing would be fully integrated alongside the British thoroughbred racing industry.

“This season has been a turning point for Arabian racing in Great Britain. The increase of single races against a reduction of stand‐alone fixtures had the benefit of widening our audience and we have been able to open up many more of our races to professional jockeys.

“This has helped to raise the standard of our amateurs, whilst enabling ARO graduates to continue to ride under ARO rules since turning professional.”

He continued:

“The increase in international runners this year is also significant, and the support from their owners, trainers and jockeys cannot be underestimated. We acknowledge the role that Dubai International Arabian Races and its’ supporting series has played in encouraging overseas participation, and also of our other major sponsors, the President of the UAE Cup, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, the Royal Cavalry of Oman and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, all of which have supported ARO and Arabian Racing in Great Britain for many years.

Gregson concluded:

“We thank all our participants, officials, racecourses and supporters for their commitment to Arabian racing. ARO is finalising the programme for 2020, which will be in a similar format to this year, a model that is well established and successful in other countries.

“The future will be challenging, but with strong support and encouragement from our sponsors and our participants, we feel that the sport has now secured the right foundations for ARO to grow Arabian racing in 2020 and beyond.”

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer of the BHA, said:

“The BHA is committed to bringing its expertise and experience as British racing’s governing body and regulator to raise the high standards in place in Purebred Arabian racing still further.

“We will continue to work closely with ARO as we scope out the various options for what increased regulatory integration will look like and will give more detail in due course as we move towards implementation next year.”


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