This year’s Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) was heralded as a great success by The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) who were delighted with the increase in international runners and by the crowd of 7,400 who were in attendance for their highlight fixture at Newbury racecourse on Sunday 28th July. 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 153 entries yielded 71 runners across the eight-race card, of which 24 were international contenders. The feature event, The Shadwell Dubai International Stakes (Gr1PA) run over 1m2f was won by Gazwan in impressive style. Owned and bred by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani and trained by Julian Smart, this was the eight-year-olds second win in the contest and he joins Bengali D’Abret, Al Sakbe, No Risk Al Maury as only the fourth dual winner in the history of the contest. Connections had already been successful earlier in the card with the three-year-old Methgal, who was a ready winner of the DIAR International Stakes (Gr3PA) for juveniles, both horses were ridden by Olivier Peslier.
Gazwan (Olivier Peslier) wins the Shadwell Dubai International Stakes Group 1PA for a second time.
The declarations also included seven DIAR prep race winners and nine horses who were placed in the prep races across Europe. Bayan, trained in France by Frederic Sanchez was successful in the Premio Taajer – UAE Embassy prep race in Rome and she repeated the bonus win for her owner-breeders YAS Horse Racing Management in the Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes (Gr1PA), which they won last year with Joudh. Whilst the Jebel Ali Racecourse Za’abeel International Stakes (Gr1PA) sprint produced a notable win for Conchita DA, as she became the first Belgian Group 1 PA winner for her owner-trainer Peter Deckers and her jockey, Anna Van Den Troost.
HH Sheikh Hamdan was also present to watch his homebreds Al Azeeza and Thamaraat win the two premier handicaps. Al Azeeza gave her trainer James Owen his first DIAR success, when taking the Emirates Premier Handicap over a mile under Jim Crowley, and the Newmarket based handler also trained the second, Naishaan and third, Farhaa for His Highness. Thamaraat’s win under Tadhg O’Shea in the Dubai Developments Premier Handicap over 1m4f was a second victory in the race for Phil Collington who had won it in 2018 with Saleemah.
The Emirates NBD Handicap Stakes run over 7f brought the meeting to a close and was won by the eight-year-old mare Popsstar for Jill Irwin and her Whitley Meadows Stud. Trained by Anthony Holdsworth, the mare responded well for Martin Dwyer when holding off a strong challenge from another of Owen’s runners for His Higness in Mawarid. Owen was also the recipient of the inaugural DIAR Leading Trainer Award sponsored by Baileys Horse Feeds, which was a cheque for £1000 presented by representative Mark Buchan.
Genny Haynes, ARO Commercial and Finance Director, commented: “The success of DIAR 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 that the appetite for international Arabian racing at the highest level continues to expand and which we at ARO are pleased to encourage as it is part of HH Sheikh Hamdan’s vision for the day.
“The day never fails to produce competitive racing of the highest quality, and to see Gazwan, one of the best Arabians in the world, regain his title in the feature race was a highlight, as he began his stellar career racing under ARO rules as a three-year-old at this very track. It was also pleasing to welcome new trainers, both international and domestic to the DIAR winners enclosure in Frederic Sanchez, Peter Deckers, James Owen and Anthony Holdsworth and hope that they will all be back again in 2020.”
Concluding she said: “We thank HH Sheikh Hamdan, the DIAR committee, Shadwell Stud, all our sponsors, Newbury racecourse, Sportsguide and Equine Creative Media for their ongoing commitment to DIAR. We also thank the owners, trainers, jockeys and officials for making the day such a success and we look forward to their support for the 2020 fixture.”