The latest racing season at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club begins today with Al Rayyan Park hosting the Al Ghariya Cup Day with eight races on the card.
The meeting is the first of 49 meetings that have been scheduled this season, with as many as 12 meetings to be organised at the new Al Uqda Racing Complex in Al Khor.
Commenting on the start of the new season, especially after the previous season was abruptly halted due to the ongoing worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, QREC CEO Nasser bin Sherida al-Kaabi said, “We have been preparing for a long time for the start of the new season. And I am sure that with the programme already announced, the owners and the trainers would have already begun arranging their cards, especially since the new season is expected to be a different from the others in the past, given the current circumstances.”
He added: “The club has kept the financial prizes unchanged, especially for the big races, and has also increased the number of race meetings to 49. We are also hosting races at the new track, which is completely ready, and the first meeting at the new track will be the Huwaila Cup Day on November 25. In this future, more races will be held at the new track, which is well-equipped with all the facilities to ensure success of the races and is also a great support for Qatari equestrian.”
Al-Kaabi spoke about the improvement works at the Al Rayyan Park, including the new lighting system. “The lighting system at Al Rayyan Racecourse was modernised in line with the international standards, not only ensuring sustainability by saving energy and electricity consumption, but also contributing to improve the quality of races, and help the horses perform their best,” he said.
As is the case every season, the highlight will be the His Highness The Amir Sword Racing Festival. The three-day Festival on February 18-21, 2021, will be featured by Al Zubarah Trophy on the first day, and the Gulf Cup and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup on the second day. On the third day, two USD 1 million races will conclude Qatar’s flagship meeting, with the Pure Arabians battling for supremacy in the 2400m Group 1 PA Amir Sword race and the Thoroughbreds lining up for the 2400m Group 1 Amir Trophy race.
“The participants will no doubt gradually enter the new season, equipping the horses for the major events and activities of the club, including the His Highness The Amir Sword Racing Festival in February next year. Many Group level races will be run over a period of three days at the Festival, running from February 18-20, with the biggest race of the season – His Highness The Amir Sword (Group 1 PA) – featuring on the final day. The race will see top Arabian horses lining up for the USD 1 million prize money,” al-Kaabi said.
“We wish all the participants success, get the best results, and benefit from the new season.”