The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) announced an increase in international numbers on 2018 figures for the four PA Group races at the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) card, when the first entry stage passed at noon yesterday. This year’s fixture will be run on Sunday 28 July at Newbury racecourse, promoting Purebred Arabian racing worldwide and is organised under the generous patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was significant that the 46 entries (up on last years’ 41), included 29 international horses that have not been previously registered to run with ARO. Including the UK based horses, 84 entries have been received for the four races.
ARO and the DIAR Committee have been working hard to achieve this increase in international entries which can be attributed to a number of factors, including the success of the DIAR prep series and the bonus scheme, which last year saw two winners of a bonus award, as well as travel incentives for all overseas runners. Of the six DIAR prep races held so far in Rome, Sweden and the UK, five winners, Avez De Pine, Bayan, Cleopathre, Kanaan and Kao Kat MHF have all been entered. It is possible that the sixth, Assuan, may head to the international conditions race, though entries for that contest are still open at this stage.
However, it is the quality of the fields which is most exciting, with 19 individual Group or Listed PA winners holding entries at this initial stage. They include 2015 Shadwell Dubai International Stakes (Gr1PA) winner Gazwan, who has amassed almost £7 million pounds in prize money and was the joint top-rated colt of 2018 in the international classifications. He bids to become the fourth horse to win two of those contests, and if successful, would be the first to regain his crown. The race also includes Hayyan and Kanaan, first and third in last Sunday’s French PA Derby (Gr1PA) and the 2018 French and English Derby winner, Rodess Du Loup, as well as last years’ international conditions winner, No And No Al Maury.
The entries for the Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International (Gr1PA) for fillies and mares are headed by the highest rated filly of the 2018 international classifications, Al Shamoos, who was a dual Group 1 PA winner last season. Not only did she beat the best of her female generation in France, but she went on to win the 2018 Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi, the world’s most valuable Arabian race, beating the other joint-highest rated colt of 2018, Fazza Al Khalediah.
ARO were also delighted to announce an additional award, that of DIAR LeadingTrainer, which will be sponsored by Baileys Horse Feeds. This new initiative will run across the eight DIAR races on July 28, with points awarded down to sixth place in each race. The trainer amassing the most points will go home with a cash prize of £1000. Mark Buchan, Export Manager for Baileys Horse Feeds said: “For some years we have been wanting to become involved in this prestigious event, as the Middle East is a significant market for Baileys Horse Feeds. We are delighted to be able to show our gratitude, albeit in a small way, whilst recognising the importance, heritage and culture of the Arabian breed.”
Genny Haynes, ARO Commercial and Finance Director, was thrilled saying: “We welcome the continued support of HH Sheikh Hamdan for our flagship event, which promotes Purebred Arabian racing worldwide from the grassroots to the highest level. It is clear from the increase in international entries that the DIAR prep series continues to gain momentum and that the appetite for top quality international Arabian racing remains strong across Europe.
“There are still ten DIAR Prep Races to come and we hope 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 Joudh and Al Chammy did last year.”
She continued: “We also embrace the addition of the Baileys Leading Trainer Award, which adds another dimension of competition to this event and we thank Baileys for their sponsorship.”
Concluding she said: “The next race in the UK DIAR prep series will be the rescheduled DIAR 2019 Premier Handicap Stakes, over 1m4f to be run at Chepstow on Monday 24th June. As always, DIAR at Newbury on 28th July promises to be a really exciting day for Arabian racing and is the highlight of the ARO racing calendar. Supplementary entries for the international races close Thursday 18th July and the international conditions and the three handicaps confined to UK runners at DIAR, all close on Wednesday 17th July. Final declarations for all races are due on Wednesday 24th July.”