The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was delighted to announce their late Patron, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum as the recipient of the 2021 Arabian Racing Achievement Award, for an unprecedented second time. It is to be presented as part of the Horserace Writers’ and Photographers’ Association (HWPA) Annual Derby Awards on Monday 6 December, at the Royal Lancaster, London. Now in its’ eighth year, the award, generously sponsored by Equine MediRecord, recognises an individual or organisation for their contribution to UK Arabian racing.
His Highness was a great champion of the Arabian horse and his passion for the breed was instrumental in maintaining and developing Arabian racing in the UK since the 1980’s. 2021 would have seen His Highness gain his 20th ARO leading owners’ title, whilst his champion racehorse and stallion No Risk Al Maury secured a second ARO sires’ title. This success highlights two of the important contributions he made to the sport, alongside many years of generous sponsorship at all levels.
His Highness’s passion was clearly expressed in his aims in supporting ARO. “We want to see more participants in the sport from Britain. We want them to appreciate the beauty and strength of the Arabian horse. It is important to us that people are aware of the noble attributes of the Arabian horse and the thrill that competition in races can bring. We do not want it to be solely a sport for owners from the Middle East. We want everyone to recognise the magnificence of the Arabian horse.”
In recognition of HH Sheikh Hamdan’s achievements, Charles Gregson, ARO Chairman commented: “We were so very grateful for His Highness’s constant enthusiasm for the Arabian horse for nearly 40 years. Next season marks a turning point, with the door wide open for new champions to make their mark, honour his memory and bringing alive his desire for the Arabian horse to gain a wider appreciation.”
ARO and DIAR Patron HH Sheikh Hamdan at Newbury in 2019 ©Debbie Burt
Pierce Dargan, Equine MediRecord Chief Executive Officer said: “We are proud to sponsor the Arabian Achievement Award that raises Arabian racing’s profile at this prestigious annual event. The impact that HH Sheikh Hamdan had on racing and Arabian racing in particular, cannot be overstated.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Chief Executive Officer commented: “We thank the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association for their continued support of UK Arabian racing, allowing us to acknowledge the achievements of our participants in this way.
“In what has been an extremely challenging year for ARO and for all of the wider horseracing community, we also thank Equine MediRecord for their sponsorship, as well as the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Coral and Vertem Asset Management for supporting the 55th HWPA Annual Derby Awards.”