Festival helps propel growth of Purebred Arabian racing worldwide
12 May 2017, World Arabian Horse Racing Conference, May 4-6, 2017, Marrakesh, Morocco ~ On the final day of the three-day World Arabian Horse Racing Conference experts were highly optimistic that the future of Arabian Racing was bright.
The panelists on the final session ‘Future of Arabian Racing’’ were Ms. Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the Festival; Sami Al Boueinen, President of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR); Dr. Abdullah Al Raisi, Director General of the National Archives; Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of External Promotion of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority; Boutros Boutros, Emirates Airline Vice President of Regional Communications, Marketing and Branding; Edward Hamod of National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC; and Omar Skalli of SOREC, Morocco, with renowned British race commentator Derek Thompson moderating.
“The fact that 86 countries are represented among those in this gathering is proof that Purebred Arabian racing is moving forward,” said Ms Sawaya. “We are having races now in Algeria and next year Asia will get involved, a tremendous progress for Arabian racing,” she said while announcing more additions to the activities of the Festival.
Boutros said the Festival’s push is helping to make Arabian horse racing one of the fastest-growing sports and urged the racing fraternity to benefit from the opportunities provided by the Festival.Hamod said supporting the Festival and Arabian racing was value for money while Al Raisi said it was time for strategic and long-term goals to be set for Arabian racing. IFAHR chief Al Boueinen reported that his vision included finding solutions to problems like moving horses from track to track and country to country, and to lessen the paperwork on import-export of horses, among others.
Morocco’s Skalli spoke of the need and progress for adding the news race track in Marrakesh. “We thought two years ago that Marrakesh had the possibility to have another race track in Morocco with the many tourists that visit the city as potential clients,” he said. “We take into account the needs of all our 1000 owners and trainers. We built a race course of 1,400 meters, the first phase of the race course which is upgradeable. Our example and business model comes from our subsidies from the PMU betting. These subsidies go to SOREC and we also are responsible to take care of horses in general, the entire horse riding society in Morocco.”
On Friday morning, Derek Thompson moderated the panel on Social Media, PR and Communications with panel members John Cobb (UK), Jean-Claude Allies (France), Isra Al-Shammari (Iraq), Essam Al Sayed (Sudan), Victoria Shaw (Australia), Mondher Zoueiten (Tunisia) and Mats Genberg (Sweden).
The speakers agreed on the importance of the internet and Social Media (SM) as many enthusiasts and those that bet on the races receive their information quickly in this way. Connecting to the audience was discussed with the agreement that SM was very effective method to send and receive information and will help to encourage and grow the base of fans for Arabian horses and their races.
Genberg said it was all about getting followers, reaching people and having a dialogue with them. “We must be the editors of Social media,” he said. Cobb said Racing Post was geared up for instant messages, sending push messages and advocated the need to ignore insults passed on Social Media. Issam highlighted the benefits of focused coverage of Arabian horse racing while Jean-Claude Allies showed a clip of proposed racing coverage that included information for tracking the horses and statistics while the race was being run. Isra of Yas TV said Social Media was a fantastic opportunity to reach huge audiences as long as the content was made interesting while veteran Mondher Zoueiten said that keeping pace with changing times had helped him get a readership of over 30,000 fans online.
Briton Philip Brennan handled the session on Rules, Conditions and Regulations with race officials and executives from around the world. These included: Canadian Neil Abraham, Frenchman Yves Plantin, Belgian Nelly Phillipot, the UAE Ahmed Saeed Al Marzouki, American Susan Meyer, Moroccan Hicham Debbagh and South African Ian Patterson on the panel.
The focus of the panel was on the harmonization of rules, mainly those governing the import and export of horses, movement of horses, handicapping systems and whip regulations. The Festival supported no medications for race horses and Ms Sawaya announced that from later this year the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup races in the US will restrict entries to Lasix-free horses. (Lasix or Salix, an anti-bleeding medication is the principal drug that differentiates the US medication regime from other major racing jurisdictions where race-day medications are banned.) The Festival also decided to form a body to frame conditions and rules which will only govern the Festival’s races to help overcome diverse conditions imposed by different host countries.
Panelists felt educating government authorities and connecting with the Thoroughbred community on the impact of Arabian horse racing would go a long way to standardize support and rules and regulations.
Australia’s only female race caller Victoria Shaw moderated the session on ‘Women in Racing’ with the panel members Ms Lara Sawaya, Mouna Benjelloun (Morocco), Rene Koch (France), Stephanie Corum (US), Lojaim Omran (Saudi Arabia), Elizabeth Bernard (France), Debbie Burton (UK) and Moza Al Mansoori (UAE).
The challenges faced in their respective fields was the hot topic and the panel of positive and successful women revealed how they converted challenges to opportunities. Despite racing being largly dominated by men, the ladies did not find this a problem and used their own talents to succeed in their chosen fields.
After seven sessions the Workshop brought the curtain down on the WAHRC 2017.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with and sponsored by Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2017, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.
~ end supplied report
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