ARABIA’S annual takeover of Newbury Racecourse takes place on Sunday with racing’s biggest free day out bring the best of Arabian racing to the country.
Europe’s most important day for Purebred Arabians takes place under the Dubai International Arabian Races banner with record prize money topping £190,000, free admission and a host of activities to entertain the family.
Staged under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Sunday’s raceday is the flagship event among a series of international events promoted by DIAR.
The prize money for the eight races totals £193,000, up £13,000 on last year with the Group 2 PA Emirates Equestrian Federation International Stakes now worth £25,000, and the featured Group 1 PA Shadwell Dubai International Stakes offering £58,000.
Not only racing connection benefit, however, as the hospitality extends to every racegoer with a car and trip to Dubai among prizes on offer, as well as special awards for the best dressed lady, children’s hat and the special awards for local schools that have taken part in the Arabian Rainbow competiton.
Fourteen local schools are taking part in the competition, which has awarded around £90,000 since its introduction in 2009.
The competition challenges pupils and teachers to paint near life-sized sculptures of Arabian horses with their own design reflecting Anglo-Arabic culture or art for a first prize of £2,500 to spend on equipment within the school to enhance education. Runners-up prizes of £1,500 and £1,000 will be awarded to the second and third placed schools respectively and Racing to School will be creating a bespoke introductory session for pupils who have taken part in the Arabian Rainbow art project providing them with a unique insight into horseracing.
A brand-new Citroen C1 Touch worth £9,000 is the star prize on offer in a series of free-to-enter prize draws and competitions running throughout the day and the free dcraw is available to all racegoers over the age of 17.
A VIP trip for two to Dubai will also be drawn after the day’s feature race, the prize including VIP upgrade with complimentary airport transfers, Business Class flights with Emirates Airline, and accommodation at one of Roda’s luxury hotels in Dubai.
The winner of the best dressed lady competition will be jetting off to enjoy a five-star luxury break in Dubai with jewellery prizes for the runners-up, and Apple iPads are on offer for the winners of the Children’s Hat Competition, one each for boys and girls with runners-up prizes, while a new iPad Pro is on moffer to the winner of the Selfie competition with entries to be d tweeted to @DIA_Races on the day.
As usual, the giveaway bags are available to all-comers, and prize draws offering designer watches provided by Jebel Ali Racecourse will take place throughout the afternoon.
Racing UK will provide live coverage of the card, which gets under way at 2.05pm with gates opening at noon for the prospect of a crowd to rival last year’s 7,000-plus.
His Excellency Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of the Office of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Chairman of the DIAR Committee said, “The Dubai International Arabian Races is an important part of Sheikh Hamdan’s vision to enable more people to enjoy the sport of Arabian horse racing and with the support of Shadwell to help more countries to develop the sport internationally.
“The international preparation races which have been held in France, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands and Britain have been a great success and I am sure have contributed to the number of European runners we will see on Sunday.
“Newbury remains the flagship event in the series and we are looking forward to another exceptional day featuring some of the best Arabian racing in the world and, hopefully, many new faces among the racegoers.”
The day will be presented by international racing personality Derek Thompson who will be accompanied in the parade ring by specialist Arabian broadcaster and commentator Gary Capewell, providing a unique insight into some of the world’s highest-rated Arabians from the moment gates open at 12 noon and beyond the final race at 5.55pm.