QATAR ARABIAN WORLD CUP: Nasser Sherida Al Kaabi: "Racing is about transmission"
Nasser Sherida Al Kaabi is the General Manager of the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC). On the eve of the Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1 PA), he outlines why the partnership between QREC and France Galop (established in 2008) during the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend, is so important in these uncertain times.
The French Purebred Arabian. – These are difficult times and particularly so because of the Covid-19 crisis. Despite this, QREC has maintained its sponsorship commitments and support for the French racing sector...
Nasser Sherida Al Kaabi. – For us, it’s really important to sustain our commitment to French racing. We’ve been partners with France Galop for many years. We were there in the good times, and continue to be so in the difficult moments. Covid-19 is a global pandemic and we must face the challenge of the current situation together.
Are Qatari racing aficionados and officials able to attend the 2020 edition of the Qatar Arc de Triomphe?
This is proving difficult because of the health restrictions. However, we invariably do our utmost to help those who wish to travel. I made the trip together with several owners and His Excellency Sheikh Joaan Al Thani.
Qatar is investing heavily in the future of its racing industry. Could you tell us a bit about Al Uqda, the new five-star training centre, launched by QREC?
These facilities are designed to enable new owners to own racehorses. The complex includes a race track [for training purposes] and is situated in the north of Qatar. The conditions under which the horses are trained are of the highest quality, and they meet the highest technical standards. This is our way of opening up Qatari racing to new owners. We are strong believers in the development of horse ownership.
This project has proved a hit because demand has been very strong. What is your take on matters?
There have indeed been many requests for boxes. This vindicates our strategy. The advent of
new owners in the sport will further strengthen the level of horse racing in Qatar.
At Doha you see a lot of young people, in the 20 to 30 bracket, at the races. Some are even active owners on the French scene in the image of Sheail Bin Khalifa Al Kuwari or Mohamed Fahad Al Attiyah...
It represents a real desire on the part of the QREC as regards encouraging the younger generation to go racing, and to encourage their involvement, and this takes various guises, in the sport. I know that France Galop is also making a lot of effort in this direction. Horses and racing are about transmission. As it’s necessary for the older generation to transmit their passion and knowledge of the sport to the younger generation. This is the whole beauty of racing as a sport. It’s also the key to the sustainability of racing. Sheail Bin Khalifa Al Kuwari has been involved racing for a long time. Mohamed Fahad Al Attiyah is a more recent convert, and he has enjoyed success to boot. They have each added their own individual breeze blocks to the edifices which make up French and Qatari racing.
What are QREC’s international ambitions?
Our aim, as we do in conjunction with France Galop, is to ensure that the sport of racing continues to shine brightly globally. We’re also out to ensure that the Qatar is able to fly the flag at the highest level internationally. Lastly, we’re seeking to improve the level of racing in Qatar. Ebraz (Amer), having completed the Doha Triple Crown sweep, will start favourite for the biggest PA race on the world stage, the Qatar Arabian World Cup, on Sunday (October 4th). The star of Royal Julius (Royal Applause) also shone brightly at Doha, and the winner of the first major ‘international’ race in Bahrain, will be on display in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
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