Arabian racing began in the UK in 1979. Later, when the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was established in 1999, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, became ARO’s Patron. His Highness was a passionate supporter of Purebred Arabian racing worldwide and was also patron of the Arab Horse Society.
His Highness was Leading UK Arabian Owner on many occasions and was also a leading breeder. He divided his Arabian breeding-stock between the UK and France, with stallions standing in the UK, France and Italy, as well as making them available to breeders worldwide through AI. His Highness’s Purebred Arabian racehorses were trained in the UK, France and the UAE, winning many of the high-profile races in the sport.
He was also patron of the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR) which became Europe’s premier Arabian racing fixture, established at Kempton Park in 1984 and transferring to Newbury racecourse in 1997. On this day, DIAR uniquely supported the grassroots, whilst showcasing the sport at the very highest level, through a range of Group races and handicaps.
Following his passing in March 2021, his Arabian racehorses continued to compete under the Shadwell Estates banner and by the end of the season they secured what would have been his 20th ARO Leading Owner title. His Highness’s Arabian racing and breeding interests were dispersed over the winter, but his stallions were retained, standing in the under the Shadwell Arabians banner for 2022 in the UK, France, Italy and Morocco.
His Highness 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.”