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

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26 April, 2021

The leaders of three major Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) horseracing jurisdictions are set to begin a dialogue aimed at the development of a coordinated regional racing offering.

The racing clubs in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are to schedule talks in the coming months covering topics such as coordination in equine quarantine and ease of travel as well as race scheduling and the sharing of knowledge and information among owners and breeders in the three countries.
Racing leaders in the three Gulf states believe there is room for 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. 
Each of the three jurisdictions to launch the talks already stage high profile international racing. The Bahrain International Trophy is held in November, The Saudi Cup is at the end of February and the well-established Dubai World Cup Carnival season and Dubai World Cup race day spans from January to March.
The initial talks will take place between the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia Bahrain’s Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club and the Dubai Racing Club.
“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," Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said.
"We are in the preliminary stages of these talks which will initially take place between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates 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 fans in the region and their shared passion is a catalyst for engagement at all levels to develop a mutually beneficial program both within the Gulf and outside the region. 
“We are truly excited by the prospect 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 reason to be optimistic.”
HH Shaikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Racing Club, expressed his optimism with the cooperation. 
“By working together, we can open up new horizons to horse racing in the region, utilizing widespread regional experiences in organizing major international events," he said.
“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 progression."
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. 
“This is a welcome step that will be promoted globally through the international races hosted by the United Arab Emirates, 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 regional level,” he said.

Courtesy: BNA 2021