Advocating the international harmonisation of Purebred Arabian Racing

26.10.2018

Advocating the international harmonisation of Purebred Arabian Racing

The International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFHAR) held its general assembly in Paris on October 6th. Faisal Al Rahmani, the organisation’s president, used the forum to beat the drum for the harmonisation of Purebred Arabian racing at an international level.

The number of races for Purebred Arabians is on the rise at an international level, as an increasing number of countries are embracing these events. However, the widening divergence regarding the application and practices related to the rules is becoming problematic. So in order to facilitate international competition and bridge building between the different countries, harmonisation has become de rigueur. However, it’s also a mandatory step which the Purebred Arabian world needs to make if it is to ensure its integration on the wider international racing stage. An example of this is a need for a certain clarity so as to ensure that the necessary standards are met in relation to the rules governing the placing of bets. It will also lay down a marker for the future in that it is an indicator of the harmonious nature of the development process. The current scenario reveals that a certain number of countries, and particularly in the Arab world, are notable absentees on the international stage despite a long and enduring association with the horse. When the nations concerned will have removed the barriers which prevent them from opening their doors – namely when the conflicts which bedevil them come to an end, or when the rules are updated, and the necessary policy changes are made – they will need to embrace a rulebook which is both clear and all-encompassing so as to ensure a smooth and sustainable development of their racing activities.

A document which is very much a reference point

Horse racing, as in all forms of competition, is subject to rules whose core objective is to designate who is the best. Everyone taking part in the sport, and for this read owners, trainers, breeders, stewards, elected officials, jockeys, employees of racing firms, punters and journalists, needs to be familiar with them. There is a need to come up with the answers to certain important questions such as at what age can a Purebred Arabian race? Which forms of medication and treatments are banned? Which horses are eligible to participate in races for Purebred Arabians?

All these rules are to be found within an IFAHR document entitled 'International Agreement for Arabian Horse Racing'. During the course of the general assembly, President, Faisal Al Rahmani, was particularly insistent on the need for other member countries to sign the document, and to work speedily to this end. To date, the majority of members have only signed up to some of them and the President has called upon these countries to speed up the process. When delving in the rule book, one comes across the three identifiable generations rule which is designed to protect PA racing from those horses whose breeding straddles the obscure and hard to trace categories. Both AFAC (Association Française du Cheval Arabe de Course) and ACA France (Association Nationale Française du Cheval Arabe Pur-Sang et Demi-Sang), the organisations which drive the ‘selection’ process within France, have asked France Galop to apply the three generations rule at a date as yet unspecified.

Iran makes overtures as regards integration with the international community

The International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) held its annual conference on October 8th. This organisation, which oversees the majority of international flat racing, has been canvassed by Iran as regards joining its ranks. A few hours after the conference we were able to meet up with the spokesperson, Shery Amir Aslani, for the Iranian delegation. Granted that the aim of the horse racing sector is a return to the international stage, she said: "The race program for Purebred Arabians within Iran in 2018 has largely been underpinned by big fields. As a general rule of thumb, a race meeting at Tehran comprises two races for Purebred Arabians and three for English Thoroughbreds. The meeting lasts eight weeks and, granted that our horse population numbers almost 200, we have been able to integrate a third race for Purebred Arabians on the card. However, we could have perhaps even staged a fourth race. This is a first at Tehran. The sponsoring of the races provides something of a stimulus, as well as allowing for the fact that racehorses have a better standing than show. As a rule, PA Arabians are more numerous in the provinces rather than the capital. We have several stallions of French origin standing in our country such as Saladin de Monlau (Dormane). His male offspring are proving to be very promising. One of the stated aims of our owners and breeders is to ensure that Iranian horses are capable of measuring themselves against international competition."