Purebred Arabian racing to be integrated into British calendar

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has teamed up with The Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO) to further integrate Purebred Arabian (PA) racing into the British racing calendar in 2020.

The integration will see a standardisation of regulatory practices within PA racing with thoroughbred racing and follows approval from British racing’s Executive Committee and the BHA Board.

Charles Gregson, ARO Chairman commented: “This is the most significant breakthrough for our sport since we began racing under the guidance of the BHA following our inception. It has always been the vision of our Patron, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that Arabian racing would be fully integrated alongside the British thoroughbred racing industry.

“This season has been a turning point for Arabian racing in Great Britain. The increase of single races against a reduction of stand‐alone fixtures had the benefit of widening our audience and we have been able to open up many more of our races to professional jockeys.

“This has helped to raise the standard of our amateurs, whilst enabling ARO graduates to continue to ride under ARO rules since turning professional.”

‘Phased’ regulatory integration is due to take place over the next 12-18 months which will be funded by ARO with help from the Racing Foundation. PA racing fixture lists and regulations are currently approved by the BHA, with the BHA also providing integrity services for any PA races on thoroughbred cards and for premier PA standalone fixtures.

Gregson continued: “The increase in international runners this year is also significant, and the support from their owners, trainers and jockeys cannot be underestimated. We acknowledge the role that Dubai International Arabian Races and its’ supporting series has played in encouraging overseas participation, and also of our other major sponsors, the President of the UAE Cup, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, the Royal Cavalry of Oman and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, all of which have supported ARO and Arabian Racing in Great Britain for many years.”

Through further integration of regulatory procedures, of which the scope is yet to be determined through a consultation, areas such as more closely aligning the licensing requirements of ARO stable yards with those under BHA Rules may be covered. Harmonisation of ARO Regulations with the Rules of Racing and the alignment of other raceday regulatory functions may also be included.

Gregson concluded: “We thank all our participants, officials, racecourses and supporters for their commitment to Arabian racing. ARO is finalising the programme for 2020, which will be in a similar format to this year, a model that is well established and successful in other countries.

“The future will be challenging, but with strong support and encouragement from our sponsors and our participants, we feel that the sport has now secured the right foundations for ARO to grow Arabian racing in 2020 and beyond.”

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer of the BHA, added: “The BHA is committed to bringing its expertise and experience as British racing’s governing body and regulator to raise the high standards in place in Purebred Arabian racing still further.

“We will continue to work closely with ARO as we scope out the various options for what increased regulatory integration will look like and will give more detail in due course as we move towards implementation next year.”

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