UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to hold regional racing talks in 2021

Leaders of three major GCC horseracing jurisdictions to begin a dialogue aimed at developing a coordinated regional racing offering

  • Dubai Racing Club, Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia and Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club to lead initial discussions 

Government of Dubai Media Office: Racing clubs in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will schedule talks in the coming months to discuss close coordination regarding equine quarantine and ease of travel, race scheduling and exchange of knowledge and information among owners and breeders in the three countries.

The talks between racing leaders in the three Gulf states seek to promote a more coordinated approach to the sport in the region, which will benefit all parties and eventually expand to include other countries in the wider GCC region. Prominent players in international racing landscape, the three countries organise events that are major draws in the global equestrian calendar. The UAE’s well-established Dubai World Cup Carnival season and Dubai World Cup race day are held in the period between January and March while the Saudi Cup is held at the end of February and the Bahrain International Trophy in November.

The initial set of talks will take place between the UAE’s Dubai Racing Club, the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club.

Expressing his optimism about the cooperation, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Racing Club said: “By working together, we can open up new horizons for horse racing in the region, utilising widespread regional experiences in organising major international events.

“This will contribute to delivering the aspirations and desires of all involved parties within the racing industry, including owners, jockeys and trainers, creating a new roadmap to overcoming obstacles and facilitating progress.

The Chairman of the Dubai Racing Club pointed out that this ancient sport occupies a special place in the hearts of the people of the Gulf region. “This is a welcome step that will be promoted globally through the international races hosted by the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain and will continue to fuel the rapid growth we have seen in the industry at a regional level,” he said.

Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said: “With an increasingly attractive racing offering already taking place across the region, we decided as a group that it was time to focus on ways to open up our racing to each other while simultaneously making it more attractive for internationals to come here, facilitating the progression of racing standards across the entire region.

“We are in the preliminary stages of these talks which will initially take place between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE but we are laying the foundations for a Gulf-wide cooperation that will benefit all of us and, we hope, the racing world at large, offering summer and winter racing in the Middle East.”

His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of Bahrain’s Rashid Equestrian and Horse Racing Club High Committee, said: Horse racing holds a special place in the hearts of sports enthusiasts in the region and their shared passion is a catalyst for engagement at all levels to develop a mutually beneficial programme both within the Gulf and outside the region.

“We are truly excited by the prospects of an integrated regional racing schedule that draws upon established strengths to elevate standards and competition. Whilst discussions may be at an early stage, the scale of opportunity gives us reason to be optimistic.”


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