x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Value on Purebred Arabian horse racing is on the rise

To ignite PR campaign, merchandise given away to 5,000 fans who showed up to purebred Arabian horse races at Newbury racecourse, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Fans watch the Purebred Arabian horse racing action at Newbury racecourse this week. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Fans watch the Purebred Arabian horse racing action at Newbury racecourse this week. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

The UAE ambassador to Britain has pronounced Dubai International Arabian day a complete success as a cultural exchange between Britain and the UAE.

For the second year running 5,000 racegoers turned up to Newbury Racecourse to watch some of the best Purebred Arabian horses compete for £158,000 (Dh908,150) across the eight races on Thursday.

When the European showcase of Arabian racing took place on a Sunday in its regular July slot three years ago more than three times that number turned up.

Among the numerous prizes given away, 1,500 yellow-and-black Jebel Ali baseball caps were handed out along with 1,000 umbrellas emblazoned with the same colours of Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid's racecourse.

"The effort that has been put into this type of event here has created stronger cultural links with the UAE and Britain," Abdulrahman Ghanem Al Mutaiwee told The National. "No doubt these type of events create a greater friendship between people from the UAE and Britain.

"One event will not get that much exposure but if you are persistent and if these events are sustainable and can take place every year and throughout all the seasons of the year it can have a big effect."

Nayaz Qazi, chairman of the National Association of Indian Payroll who sponsored the final race of the day, won by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Aljawaaher, agreed.

He believes the proliferation of merchandise in similar events in India had created a similar effect.

"Thoroughbred racing does not go far enough with PR," he said. "Everybody knows that Meydan Racecourse represents Dubai, so this has helped raise the profile of Jebel Ali. I've seen people walking around in Bombay and Gujarat with such hats."

As an illustration of the effect of this PR campaign, at some point in the next 12 months Nigel Jones and Georgina Roberts will be jetting to Dubai with their two children, Rebecca, 13, and Adam, 9.

Their youngest son died two years ago when he stepped off the pavement and was struck by a bus just metres away from them.

Nigel had a job as a factory manager but the stress and strain of getting over the devastation robbed him of his work. Speaking as the winner of a five-star family holiday to the UAE, Jones was moved.

"This won't help us much but perhaps it will be the start of us turning the corner," he said. "The nearest I have come to Dubai is Turkey, where we are going on holiday in a few weeks. I've seen Dubai on the telly, and I'm looking forward to it."

Djet Taouy was a surprise winner of the Group 1 Dubai International Stakes, sponsored by Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell operation.

Djet Taouy won the Group 1 President Of The UAE Cup at Newmarket on his first visit to Britain last month and trainer Diana Dorenberg is aiming for a third win at the highest level in England next month, the Harwood International Stakes at Doncaster.

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