Qatar sponsorship to make Goodwood even more glorious

Qatar has stepped in to sponsor the five-day meeting at Goodwood, the southern English racecourse, in a deal to last until 2024, two years after Doha is set to hold the football World Cup.
Qatar, who sponsor the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, outside Paris, have jumped the Channel and will also take a primary sponsorship role at Goodwood in England. Francois Mori / AP Photo
Qatar, who sponsor the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, outside Paris, have jumped the Channel and will also take a primary sponsorship role at Goodwood in England. Francois Mori / AP Photo

London // A Purebred Arabian race of nearly Dh3 million is set to take pride of place at the five-day Glorious Goodwood meeting next year after the racecourse announced a major sponsorship deal with Qatar on Monday.

Qatar has stepped in to sponsor the five-day meeting at the southern English racecourse in a deal to last until 2024, two years after Doha is set to hold the football World Cup.

As part of the agreement Goodwood will stage at least two Purebred Arabian races across the festival.

The main race is set to be staged over 1,800 metres and will be aimed at four-year-old Arabians and upwards and is set to carry prize money of about £500,000 (Dh2.87m), while a race over 1,600 metres for three-year-old colts and fillies also has been mooted.

The sponsors hope that the new £500,000 race will act as the first leg of an ambitious new global Triple Crown series, which will take in the €1 million (Dh4.5m) Qatar Arabian World Cup on the same card as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris in October and the Emir’s Sword in Doha in ­February.

The two new Purebred Arabian races are set to act as a cornerstone to an “equestrian showcase”, which will include exhibitions of showjumping, eventing, polo and endurance races.

In addition to the implementation of two new races, Qatar has bolstered the total prize money to eight key thoroughbred races at the meeting.

The feature Group 1 Sussex Stakes will have a purse of £1 million in the hope of attracting horses from abroad.

“Qatar is committed to sponsoring big sports events all around the world to show a big image of Qatar,” said Hamad Al Attiyah, president of the Qatar Equestrian Federation. “We want to be associated with the most iconic and historical places to stage races.

“We can do so much with five days of racing. We have many more ideas and surprises to come.”

The new Purebred Arabian races could be problematic. The inaugural Qatar Goodwood Festival will start on July 28, which is just two days after the Dubai International Arabian Day at Newbury Racecourse that has three Group 1s and one Group 2 races on the card. Provisionally the new races will be staged only a fortnight before the Prix Kesberoy and Prix Manganate, both Group 1 races worth €50,000 in France, and a month before the Group 1 President Of the UAE Cup Malazgirt Trophy, the Turkish race that is worth €125,000.

The International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities, the president of which is Qatar’s Sami Jassim Al Boenain, is the organisation that must decide whether the proposed races fit into the Purebred Arabian pattern.

“We are confident we can get these races set up,” Al Attiyah said.

“We need to speak to the International Equestrian Federation also about the show jumping.

“I do not think we can get a five-star showjump, but we are aiming for one not less than three star.”

Yesterday’s news follows that of the Sheikh Mansoor Festival, which announced in September an American Triple Jewel and an upgrade in prize money for the European Triple Crown, which features races in France, Holland and Poland.

The Triple Jewel in 2015 will be held at Sam Huston Racecourse, Pleasanton and Los Alamitos.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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