Gazwan to Defend Title at Arabian Racing’s Flagship Day at Newbury

Al Mouhannad and Thomas Henderson win the Gr1PA Zabeel Int Stks

Al Mouhannad and Thomas Henderson win the Gr1PA Zabeel Int Stks 2015

13 July 2016, UK ~ The Arabian Racing Organization has published a top-rated list of possible runners for UK Arabian racing’s highlight, the Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR), to be run on Sunday, 24 July, at Newbury racecourse.

DIAR promotes Purebred Arabian racing worldwide from the grass-roots to the highest level, with the flagship event organized under the generous patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

His Highness’s passion and enthusiasm for the Arabian racehorse has been rewarded. The meeting, now less than two weeks away, has increased in stature every season since its’ inception over 30 years ago. The forward thinking DIAR committee has instigated a number of initiatives to keep DIAR at the forefront of the sport by adding a series of preparatory races to the DIAR calendar. Besides the UK, these races are now run in Italy, France, Holland and Sweden, bringing the entire 2016 DIAR program to 24 races, including 10 at Group or Listed level.

The added support of the bonus scheme inaugurated last year gives additional prize money to any horse that finishes in the first three of the designated warm-up races and goes on to win one of the bonus races on 24 July. The first three home in every UK prep race hold entries, whilst the majority of the overseas prep race winners are also entered.

In addition, to boost participation, overseas runners can apply for a travel allowance, which has encouraged 51 foreign entries to be made. This has also enabled the first Italian Arabians to take part: the exciting unbeaten three-year-old colt, Urge Di Gallura, and the well-travelled Laris De Pine, both trained by leading Italian trainer Endo Botti.

The DIAR committee has increased the 2016 prize fund of the day by £20,000, which will be split between the three Group 1 PA contests. These are headed by the Shadwell Dubai International Stakes (Gr1PA) in which Gazwan bids for back to back wins for trainer Julian Smart and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani. However Gazwan may face stiff competition from Al Mouwaffak trained by Thomas Fourcy for Al Shaqab, the world’s second top rated Purebred Arabian of 2015. Also entered is the top rated three-year-old of 2015, HH Sheikh Hamdan’s Muraaqib, trained by Francois Rohaut.

Also aiming to continue a winning streak is The Royal Cavalry of Oman’s Al Mouhannad. Christian Baillet’s grey mare is on course for a record fourth consecutive win in the Jebel Ali Racecourse Za’abeel International Stakes (Gr1PA). The Royal Cavalry also has a strong hand in the Duty Free Hatta International Stakes (Gr1PA) with the multiple Group winning filly, Sylvine Al Maury. Trained by Elizabeth Bernard, she ended an excellent 2015 campaign with a win in the Qatar Total Arabian Trophy des Juments (Gr1PA) at Longchamp. In addition, she was rated the joint top rated Arabian mare in the 2015 International Classifications.

ARO Racing Manager Amanda Smith commented. “Thanks to the continued support of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the new initiatives of the DIAR committee, we are once again looking forward to a truly international Arabian raceday at Newbury.  We are delighted that this has been rewarded by an increase in overseas entries, particularly in the feature event, the Shadwell Dubai International Stakes (Gr1PA) where possible overseas participants are almost double that of 2015.”

Smith continued. “However the day is not just about the highest level participants, as HH Sheikh Hamdan and the DIAR committee also support UK Arabian racing at the grass-roots. So it is a great pleasure to see all the handicaps races so well supported by our domestic runners. Both the Emirates, and the Rotana Hotels and Resorts Premier Handicaps, have seen an increase in entries.  The closing race of the day, the NAIP Handicap, is always one of the best supported races of the year and once again has a high number of entries. NAIP has also added an extra £2,000 to the fund this year.”

~ end report