The Qatar Goodwood Festival is getting more and more success one year after another, which demonstrates the insightful vision of the officials by sponsoring the Festival and its prestigious races, which have been held in the UK for over 200 years. After five years of partnership between the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC) and Goodwood Racecourse, the outcome is positive and even still so promising that it has been key in extending the partnership up to 2024.
Hamad bin Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah, President of the Asian and the Qatar Equestrian Federations and Vice Chairman of QREC, had a leading role in concluding the Qatar Goodwood Festival sponsorship agreement five years ago. “Sponsoring races overseas is very important for the Qatar’s equestrian sport due to the nature of the benefits generated”, he said, “It also promotes QREC and creates excellent relations between us and the organisers of races in the countries where we sponsor races, including the UK as in the Qatar Goodwood Festival and France as in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. In addition to the Qatari character associated with such world races, there is another dimension related to horse owners, trainers and jockeys in Qatar who become more and more familiar with many details in such races and gain precious experience for sure.”
Speaking about the nature of the Qatari participations in such type of races, he said, “At the beginning of this partnership, the participation was strong, but it depends on the circumstances of the runners. Everyone knows that horses are not owned by QREC, but by their respective owners and are looked after by their trainers. Participation, accordingly, depends on how ready the owners are to run their horses. It is well known that we, in Qatar, excel in Arabian racing. However, in an event as the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Arabian racing represents just 5% of the races of the Festival, where the major focus in on thoroughbred racing. H.E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing took part actively in this type of races and we are confident there will be better participations in future. Al Shaqab Racing have expanded their participation in races worldwide. They have an active breeding operation, so their participations will be on a larger scale in the near future. The presence of other Qatari horse owners is an honour for us and it adds a local dimension to the event, which is needed for sure especially as the Festival is sponsored by Qatar. All owners wishing to run their horses in the various races are welcome to do so.”