What is Arab racing in the UK?

The Quick Answer

What is Arab racing in the UK?

Arab horse racing is popular around the world, the UK is no exception. As one of the founding members of the IFAHR the UK has a solid interest in Arab racing which can be found up and down the country racing purebred Arabian racehorses.

The UK loves horse racing! While the country is one of the most prominent members of the global horse racing industry, it is also one of the founding members of the IFAHR, the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing.

Arab racing happens to be a popular horse race form in the country. But if you are unfamiliar with Arab racing, here is your chance to find out all about it.

What is Arabian horse racing?

Arabian horse racing primarily entails races run by purebred Arabian horses. However, there are also select races for thoroughbred horses or a cross between Arabian and thoroughbred called the Anglo Arabs. The Arab horses are known for their amazing stamina and build, which are ideal for racing.

Arab horse racing is common worldwide, with 32 countries having comprehensive Arabian Racing programs incorporated with Thoroughbred racing events. Some prominent countries include the Gulf States, America, Canada, France, and of course, the UK. These countries host some of the most prominent group 1 purebred Arab horse races in the most renowned Thoroughbred race events.

Arab horse racing in the UK

Arabian horses are one of the oldest horse breeds and were introduced to the UK by the Romans. These horses were used in races in Yorkshire even before thoroughbreds were introduced. During the 18th century, these horses became sires of the thoroughbred breed in the UK. In the years that followed, thoroughbred horse racing took over and became the preferred choice.

However, in 1978, the first formal Arab horse race was conducted at Hawthorn Hill. Initially, the race was restricted to amateur trainers and jockeys, and the Jockey Club organised races on point-to-point courses.

However, the sport flourished over time, and although it is still considered for amateurs, it has gained immense popularity. The races are now conducted on licensed racecourses, while the British Horse racing Authority facilitates the events.

Today, the UK thoroughbred racecourses are home to some of the most exciting Arab race meetings that draw large crowds of spectators and bettors.

The Arabian Racing Organisation

The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) was established in 1999 under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of Dubai. The organisation operates in accordance with the regulations of the BHA (British Horse racing Authority). It is the sole authority for organising Arab racing in the UK.

In January 2021, Arabian and thoroughbred racing in the UK was further integrated as licensed trainers for thoroughbred horses were also permitted to train Arabian horses. However, the role of the ARO remained intact.

Arab racing events in the UK

Horses can start participating in Arabian racing from three years of age. Maiden races are organised for horses that have not won a race. As the horses become experienced, other forms of races are held, including novice, condition, and handicap group races which are also open to international participants.

The ARO organises around 40 races per season in Thoroughbred race matches. The most notable Arab race in the UK is the Qatar International Stakes, which is a part of the Qatar Goodwill Festival and is held at Goodwood Racecourse. Another significant event is the UK Arabian Derby, held on St Leger Day at Doncaster.

Then we have the Qatar Arabian World Cup, held at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day. Moreover, the Kahayla Classic is held at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on the same night as the Dubai World Cup.

How long is the season for Arab horse racing in the UK?

The season for Arab horse racing continues from spring to autumn, and around 40 races are held per season. The best horses from these races compete in European events in the summer and Gulf events during the winter.

How can I bet on Arab horse racing in the UK?

Like thoroughbred racing, betting on Arabian horse racing is also very popular and a lucrative opportunity for bettors to win a significant amount of money. There are various Arab racing betting platforms online or you can bet oncourse at the racecourse facilities.

What is the most valuable Arab race in the UK?

The Qatar International Stakes is the most valuable Arab race in the UK. The race has a distance of over a mile and last took place at Goodwood racecourse on 27th July 2022 as a part of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. The prize money for the Qatar International Stakes was £400,000.


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