Since 2002, the Royal Society for Horse Encouragement (SOREC) organises, in association with the Royal Moroccan Arabian Breeders’ Association, an international meeting. Set over two days, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November, the Purebred Arabians take center stage on the Sunday, with six races including two Group III PAs. The main race, the Grand Prix Sa Majesté le Roi Mohammed VI (2,100m, € 109,980), was won this year by a representative of Yas Horse Racing Management, Bandar (Minjiz).


Horses and racing are major elements within the Moroccan economy. Under the aegis of the  Royal Society for Horse Encouragement (Sorec), the kingdom organises over 2,000 races for Thoroughbreds and Purebred Arabians. Hicham Debbagh, director of racing at SOREC, explains the importance of this international meeting.

The French Purebred Arabian. – What is the objective of this international meeting?

Hicham Debbagh. – This first objective was to place Moroccan racing on the international calendar, which we have done. I think that we now have a well-established international image. We receive increasing numbers of horses from the Emirates and Qatar. Previously, we tended only to attract European horses, but now the Gulf countries are developing and travelling over to run here. We also receive horses from British owners.

We have thirteen foreign horses entered in the Purebred Arabian races, and nine in the Thoroughbreds. The trainers come to Morocco to improve their horses’ ratings and not just for the prize money. We want the performances to define the entries.


At this time, how do you see racing in Morocco evolving?

Since 2009, we have been trying to positively evolve racing in Morocco, and in 2011, we put a development strategy in place to improve the level of Moroccan horses, to make them more competitive at an international level. Soon, we should start exporting Purebred Arabian horses. I hope that three years from now, we can sell internationally. I think our horses have interesting genetic potential. We will also continue to work on creating an auction house. That is a good indicator for our economic sector.

What new aims has the SOREC set in place in 2017?

We have automated the entire process for entries. However, in terms of digital advancement, we are making sure that our racing information is reaching an international audience, with the introduction of tools destined for use outside of the country. Like racing replays online, for example.

Do you have any projects for 2018?

Firstly, we will be hosting a leg of the Défi du Galop, programme for the international weekend in November, with the traditional Grands Prix and international races. The Défi du Galop has good media coverage, in the written press and on several television channels. Morocco’s entry into this challenge is a recognition of the progress that we have made, and also bodes well for future exchanges. This ties in exactly with our strategy to develop our Thoroughbred racing. There is also plenty of betting on the race. This is important to us, as it will give more visibility to our racing.

Next year, we will work on improving the transport of horses by air. It is one of our major objectives, to reduce the travelling time.


Weekend key figures

€ 700,000 of prizemoney

12 races

8 international races

3 races shown by Equidia