Victorian racing minister Denis Napthine has met with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates in the lead up to Arabian horse racing at Caulfield tomorrow.
City tracks are normally the domain of thoroughbred horses, however the Victorian government in conjunction with the Melbourne Racing Club have dedicated a slot on Saturday’s Caulfield card to give punters a look at a breed of horse they would never normally see on an Australian track.
Napthine was joined in State Parliament by Mirza Al Seyegh (a representative of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum) and chairman of the Melbourne racing club Mike Symons.
“This unique event is sponsored by one of the world’s most successful horse breeders, Sheik Hamdan, the deputy ruler of Dubai and minister for finance,” said Napthine.
Napthine predicted that the showcase event on Saturday would lead to rise in popularity for Arabian racing in the state.
“The Persian Gulf has a special place in the history of horse racing. The majestic purebred Arabian horse is the oldest breed in the world, and the breed of choice for its beauty, toughness and stamina. Racegoers at Caulfield this Saturday will witness the beauty of Arabian racing with a strong field of 11 starters,” said Napthine.
It is hoped that this new arrangement will strengthen ties between the racing bodies in Victoria and the United Arab Emirates.
“It is important to foster ties between our racing industry and the UAE and those ties could be through Victorian horses racing in Dubai, UAE-owned horses racing in Victoria, or further investment by the UAE in our states valuable breeding industry,” said Napthine.
Mirza Al Seyegh was also quick to point out that this was more than just a novelty horse race. It was a way for the two bodies to build a successful relationship.
“It is crucial that these events receive the support of the government and this event will contribute further to fostering strong relationships between our two great racing jurisdictions.
“We have been made to feel most welcome in Australia and are looking forward to further establishing Arabian racing in this country,” said Al Seyegh.
Sheikh Hamdan has tipped in $80,000 worth of sponsorship for Saturday’s Caulfield meeting, $20,000 of which will be used as prize money in the exhibition Arabian race, which will be run between races four and five at Caulfield tomorrow.
The Shadwell Arabian mile will be a non-wagering event, however patrons on course will be able to take part in an on-course promotion.
The exhibition race will also be the first city call for young race caller Brendan Delaney.