By Sports Reporter Doha
The horse racing season in Qatar will begin on October 14, 2020, according to the schedule released by the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) yesterday.
Al Ghariya Cup Day on the dirt track at Al Rayyan Park will be the first of 49 meetings that have been scheduled this season, which will conclude on April 22, 2021.
Qatar’s three-day horse racing flagship event — His Highness Amir Sword Racing Festival — will run from February 18-20, 2021, with the two USD1mn features to be held on the last day of the festival.
In February this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Ebraz became the first horse to win the Doha Triple Crown after he stamped his authority over three different distances in three different countries in a single season. The Julian Smart-trained Purebred Arabian first won the Qatar International Stakes (Group 1 PA) in Goodwood over a mile in July last year, before starring at the 2000m Qatar Arabian World Cup in October in Paris and then winning His Highness The Amir Sword (Group 1 PA) for a record third time in Doha for the Triple Crown.
In the Thoroughbred feature, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani’s French King emerged victory for the second straight time.
Qatar Oaks and Qatar Derby have been scheduled for December 19-20, 2020, while HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani Trophy and HH Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalifa Al Thani Trophy will be run on December 26, 2020, and January 7, 2021, respectively. Qatar Gold Sword meeting will be held on April 1, 2021.
The racing season also includes as many as 12 race meetings at the new Al Uqda Complex.
The operations at the state-owned horse racing facility in Al Khor are being run by the QREC in co-ordination with the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The first race meeting at Al Uqda will be the Al Huwaila Cup Day on November 25, 2020.
The biggest race meeting at the new facility will be the Al Shaqab Racing Trophy on February 3, 2021, with the six-furlong feature Thoroughbred sprint carrying total prize money of QR200,000. The race meeting will also see a sprint race each for local Thoroughbreds and Arabians with QR155,000 and QR175,000 on offer as the total prize pot respectively.
QREC CEO Nasser bin Sherida al-Kaabi said, “We have been preparing for the new programme since the last season ended. With the new season, we have not only sought to further the vision and the strategy of the QREC to develop racing in Qatar and also host quality international races, but also ensure we do so in a safe environment in co-ordination with the concerned authorities. All the precautionary measures as required ensuring the safety of all participants and organisers are in place.
“This season, 12 races will be held at Al Ukda. The first race at the complex will be Al Huwaila Cup on November 25, and in the future, more races will be held at the venue. The track is equipped with the necessary infrastructure to successfully host race meetings.”
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