Dubai Faisal Al Rahmani, the newly elected Chairman of the International Arab Horse Racing Association (IFAHR), Arabian racing’s world governing body, wants more respect for the sport that his greatest passion.
Al Rahmani, who was unanimously voted in to office during the General Assembly elections in Paris last month, welcomes the progress that Arabian racing has made in the last ten years but insists that there is still ‘a lot of work to do’.
“The foundation laid down by IFAHR during its formative years was good, strong,” he told Gulf News. “However, there were some cracks.
Gone are the days when people paid no attention to Arabian racing. Prize money that was around €100,000 is now as high as €1m.”
- Faisal Al Rahmani, IFAHR Chairman
“IFAHR’s primary role is to facility the growth and development of Arabian racing on a global level by making it easier for horses to travel and compete outside their home country and to regulate and the process.
“My goal is to make this possible, not tomorrow or the day after, but today!”
Al Rahmani, who himself is a passionate owner-breeder of Purebred Arabian horses, sounds dead serious.
As the Deputy Director of the Emirates Arabian Horse Association, Vice-Chairman of the Organising Committee and General Supervisor of Al Ain Race Track and the UAE Director of the Horse Auction, he has been at the epicentre of flat racing, breeding and sales.
He brings to his pivotal position at the helm of IFAHR a world of experience, and a passion that can further drive the organisation towards a brighter future.
Al Rahmani credited the role played by the Late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, for spurring the Purebred Arabian ‘revolution,’ as he calls it.
“I have been involved with Arabian racing for a long time and have been closely following the activities for IFAHR,” he said.
“However, it was Shaikh Mansour’s idea to help an Emirati, like myself, secure a key position in IFAHR, to ensure that the vision of Shaikh Zayed will become a reality.
“By the will of God this happened and here I am in the driving seat of Arabian racing’s most influential body, ”Al Rahmani added.
“It has been a long time since IFAHR was established, almost two decades since 1999. And if you look at how the sport has progressed, you would agree that it is presently strong and healthy.
“Gone are the days when people paid no attention to Arabian racing. They have taken note. Prize money that was around Euro 100,000 is now as high as Euro 1, 000,000.
“The market is growing fast and many countries that did not have any Arabian racing and now part of the family. Countries that hosted a few races now conduct 600 races,” he pointed out.
“Look at the HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Racing Festival and what it has achieved. Today it boasts an international calendar of over 110 races with a budget of euros 15 million.
“This would not have been possible without the role of IFAHR and a solid date base that it offers to owners, breeders and organisers of Arabian races.
“With the help of our date base, and a common handicapping system, it is now easy for owners and trainers to plan better and to compete on a larger scale, as they have a professional, regularised system to fall back on.”
Al Rahmani credits Shaikh Zayed for triggering the ‘revolution’ forty years ago and for the ‘boundless’ support of patrons like Shaikh Mansour and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
“Now it’s time to earn the respect that Purebred Arabian deserves and I’m there to make it happen.”