The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and The Arab Racing Organisation (ARO) have joined forces to further incorporate Purebred Arabian (PA) racing into the British racing calendar in 2020.
The merger will see a standardisation of PA racing regulatory procedures with thoroughbred racing and will be followed by approval from the Executive Committee of British racing and the Board of BHA.
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.”
A phased regulatory transition is expected to take place over the next 12-18 months, which will be sponsored by ARO with Racing Foundation assistance. The BHA is currently authorising PA racing fixture lists and rules, with the BHA also offering integrity services for any PA races on thoroughbred cards and leading 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 implementation of regulatory processes, the scope of which is still to be decided by consultation, areas such as closer alignment of ARO stable yards ‘ licencing requirements with those under BHA Rules may be covered. It is also possible to include the harmonisation of the ARO Regulations with the Racing Rules and the coordination of other raceday regulatory functions.
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.”