His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance is a passionate supporter of Purebred Arabian Racing. His involvement in the sport and his patronage of the Arabian Racing Organisation spans over three decades, whilst he is also patron of the Arab Horse Society.
His Highness has been Champion UK Arabian Owner on many occasions and is also a leading breeder. He divides his breeding-stock between the UK and France, supporting the breed worldwide with stallions standing in the UK, France and the USA. In the UK, Shadwell Arabians are based at Shadwell Estate Company Ltd in Norfolk. Purebred Arabian racehorses are trained in the UK, France and UAE, winning many of the high profile races in the sport.
His Highness is also patron of ARO’s flagship event, Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) – Europe’s premier Arabian racing fixture, held since 2003 at Newbury racecourse. On this day, DIAR uniquely supports the grass-roots, whilst showcasing the sport at the very highest level, with the following programme of races:
- Shadwell Dubai International Stakes Group 1PA 4yo+ 1m2f
- Dubai Duty Free Hatta International Stakes Group 1PA 4yo+ Fillies & Mares 1m2f
- Jebel Ali Za’abeel International Stakes Group 1PA 4yo+ Fillies & Mares 1m2f
- Emirates Equestrian Federation International Stakes Group 2 PA 3yo only 7f
- Emirates NBD International Stakes 4yo+ 1m2f
- Emirates Premier Handicap Stakes 4yo+ 1m
- Rotana Resorts & Hotels Premier Handicap Stakes 4yo+ 1m4f
- National Academy of Indian Payroll Handicap Stakes 4yo+ 7f
His Highness’s passion and enthusiasm for the Arabian racehorse has been rewarded as the meeting has increased in stature every season since its inception over 30 years ago. The forward thinking DIAR committee has instigated a number of initiatives to keep the programme at the forefront of the sport by adding a series of preparatory races to the DIAR calendar. This now encompasses races in Italy, France, Holland and Sweden, bringing the entire DIAR programme to 24 races, including 10 at Group or Listed level.
His Highness recently expressed 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 Arab 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 Arab horse.”