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.