Last Day of World Arabian Racing Conference Debates Key Issues

June 8, 2013, Toulouse France ~HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s Fourth World Arabian Horse Racing Conference

  In a focussed discussion on Marketing, Future, and Innovation, key points came to the fore during the morning session on the last day of the Conference staged at the Centre de Congrès Pierre Baudis in Toulouse, France. 
  The need to take the heroes of Purebred Arabian racing and present and market them to the outside world and the need to ensure children and youth get acquainted with horses at an early stage were two of the points highlighted.
  Shadwell Stud Director Richard Lancaster began the session stating three issues he sees as key to the growth of Arabian racing. One was engaging the public. “Racing is not engaging the young as it did in the past,” he stated. He  cited the problem of registration of some horses. “There are some doubts around the registration of some bloodlines and without solving this problem it will be difficult to expand in the industry.”  Lancaster also noted the issue of medication and keeping a clean sport as paramount to safeguarding the integrity of the sport.

Richard Lancaster right

Lara Sawaya, Boutros Boutros, Richard Lancaster

  Boutros Boutros, Head of Corporate Communications at Emirates Airlines said that though Arabian racing had made a huge impact over the recent years-like all sports, it needs heroes. “You need to identify the stars and then promote them and market them.”
  Stephen Bowey of Invest AD said, “Our sponsorship of the Festival is very good as it has grown very fast and it has a very passionate following. This Festival has a vision and it not only works at the top level but also at the grassroots level. For Arabian racing to be global it must be operate like a global business. The product has to be regulated and attractive, with proper communication, integration and co-ordination sending a consistent message to the consumer.”

Stephen Bowey, HE Sheikh Hamed Al Hamed, Lara Sawaya

Stephen Bowey, HE Sheikh Hamed Al Hamed, Lara Sawaya

  Wayne Hodes, US Director of Marketing and Sales at Sam Houston race course in Texas, explained that they integrate other events with the racing to bring in the public and involve local celebrities and media personalities to help promote the events. “Sponsors need to make revenues on investments just like what happens in other sports. We must encourage the youth and attract them to become interested in the sport to widen the base of participation and interest,” he said.
  AFAC Chairman, Yves Plantin, reminded everyone of the importance of the small breeder. “As a breeder, this industry would have not survived without the hard work of the small breeders and we must encourage them by opening new markets. There are many big stables emerging but the small breeders must be looked after.”
Moderator, Saeed Mubarak Al Hajiri, Head of the Olympic Committee of the UAE as well as member of Abu Dhabi Tourism  directed a lively exchange, engaging  speakers with questions such as: “How does being a sponsor benefit you? He also asked for personal experience with specifics on how to integrate Arabian racing with Thoroughbred races and how the panel would grow the sport.

Saeed Mubarak Al Hajiri

Saeed Mubarak Al Hajiri

  Touching on the success of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival, Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Head of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) Ladies Racing said goals had to be first set and then all hurdles on the way should be negotiated.
  “We started with 4 races and three sponsors, today we are staging 73 races this year and the number of sponsors is now 19. There will be difficulties but we have to overcome them,” she said.
  Commenting on further growth, she said at Friday’s session, “We have Bahrain and Portugal as the next countries where the Festival could make its debut. I am very lucky to have the full support of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.”
  Sawaya also urged all officials to co-ordinate their efforts and consolidate on the great platform that the Festival had provided for the sport of Arabian racing.
Friday Afternoon
  In Friday’s afternoon session on Laws and Conditions, Philip Brennan moderated a panel of sports lawyer Jirayr Habibian, Ahmad Abdelrazik, Egyptian Breeders Association; Jean Pierre Degasté, Axelle De Watrigant, and Paul Marie Gadot of France; Pam Cordrey, Senior Handicapper in Scandinavia; Yasi Mabrouk, Emirates Racing Association, and Izeta Selimanjin of ITC.
  Jean Pierre Degasté explained the adaption of the Thoroughbred system to establish a level of equality in Arabian horses and events in each country which formed into the IFAHR Pattern Race and  Handicapper Committee for PA and GR races.  Izeta Selimanjin gave a slide presentation on how the handicappers use the website from the IFAHR site.
  In the Women In Racing session led by Liz Price, UAE trainer, Jaci Wickham, said she has never faced any hurdle being a women trainer in the UAE over the past 23 years, while Bahrain’s Lulwa Al Awadi urged the current crop of women involved in Arabian racing to form a group to pass on their expertise to their counterparts in the Arab and Middle East countries. Other speakers were Harriett Rochester of the UK, Genny Hanes of the Arabian Racing Organization, Nelly Philippot of Belgium, and Lara Sawaya.
  HE Asim Mirza Al Rahma, the UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Poland; HE Abdul Rahman Ghanim Al Mutaiwee, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom; HE Mohammed Ahmed Mahmood, the former  UAE Ambassador to Germany;  HESulaiman Hamed Al Mazroui , UAE’s Ambassador to Belgium and HE Saqr Nasser Ahmed Al Raisi, UAE’s Ambassador to Portugal attended Friday’s sessions.
Gala Dinner Saturday 
After a workshop the 4th edition of the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference will culminate in a Gala Awards Dinner at the Musée des Augustins Saturday night.

  The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and co-ordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare and Fegentri with Emirates airlines as the official carrier and sponsored by Invest AD, Arabtec Holding PJSC, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2013, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Wathba Stud Farm, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Racing Post, Eastern Mangroves Hotel and SPA and Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Galleries Lafayette and Toulouse Airport.


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