This coming February sees the 40th anniversary of the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC), to be held at the club’s facilities in New Al Rayyan during the HH The Emir 24th International Equestrian Sword Festival.
From 21 – 24 February 2015, QREC will host a prestigious exhibition welcoming international equestrian owners, riders, clubs and organisations, as well as dignitaries and fans of the sport. There will also be the launch of a unique Memories Coffee Table Book, celebrating 40 years of remarkable success and achievements, providing a vibrant tribute for the success story of QREC.
Celebrations for the 40th Anniversary will be a huge event, to be hosted under the patronage of The Emir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as part of the racing season. With Qatar’s rich history and love of the horse, it is expected to be a lavish affair, recognising the modern nature of equine events while incorporating elements of Qatari and Arab heritage.
To be held at the same time is the QREC Professional and Prestigious Exhibition, a ‘must visit’ for all horse and racing enthusiasts. It will be a unique trade and consumer show where suppliers can meet horse owners, breeders, stables, clubs, and veterinarians in a captive environment, adjacent to one of the most important Arabian horse festive weeks in the global calendar. The Exhibition will host equestrian and racing associations, equipment and products for horse care, riding and sports apparel, and other luxury items and accessories.
QREC was established in 1975 and is located in New Al Rayyan on Al Furousiya Street. It is charged with developing Thoroughbred and purebred Arabian horse racing events, organising Arabian horse shows and encouraging horse owners to care for and race the best horses.
During the last four decades, Qatar has received multi-billion dollar investments in its infrastructure to promote the equestrian and purebred Arabian horse sectors. The number of equestrian related facilities and arenas have subsequently been increased over the years, with facilities now matching or exceeding their international counterparts.
To this end, the state‑of‑the‑art facilities at QREC provides one of the most enviable horse training centres in the world. The stables are superbly equipped and fully trained equine veterinarians are immediately on hand for the wellbeing of the horses.
Enjoying the thrill of the race in Qatar
Race events take place every Wednesday and Thursday from October to May with over 40 race meetings held annually. The tracks are made from both sand and turf. There are also arenas hosting horse shows and national championships, such as the Arabian Horse Shows and the Qatar International Equestrian Festival.
Since the 2000–2001 Racing Season, QREC has additionally organised the Qatar International Festival (QIEF), an annual week‑long event. Arab and international horse owners, trainers and jockeys have taken part since the first festival in March 2001, in what is now known as the HH The Emir International Equestrian Sword Festival.
Spectators can see all the action from the grandstands, which have a seating capacity of 1,400. There are also corporate boxes available for rent and can accommodate 10 people. The QREC is a fun and safe venue for families, with a children’s play area and restaurants on site.
The QREC internationally
Since 2008, QREC has been the official sponsor of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend, which is held in Longchamp, Paris during the first weekend of October. One of the richest races on turf in the world, Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe attracts 70,000 spectators at the Longchamp every year, as well as over one billion television viewers.
The Qatar Arabian World Cup shares the programme of the second and final day of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Troimphe Weekend with the world’s richest turf race for Thoroughbreds.The Group 1 event, reserved for four‑year‑olds and over, and run over a distance of 2,000 metres, was given a prize money boost of more than 40% in 2014 to create the world’s first €1 million race ever for purebred Arabians.
Qatari‑owned horses have dominated in the previous four races: General, owned by HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani, won in 2009 and 2010; two horses owned by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani – Areej and Mkeefa – have continued the winning trend for Qatar.
The QREC runs the weekend in association with Qatar Petroleum International and Total; the latter is also the partner of the Qatar Arabian Trophy for colts, Qatar Arabian Trophy for mares and the Prix Marcel Boussac, as well as the HH the Emir Sword Race in Qatar.
The QREC is affiliated to several international organisations, such as those shown below, and was the first Arab country to issue racing rules:
- World Arabian Horse Organisation (WAHO) – oversees trading of the Arabian horse.
- International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) – provides the QREC with the latest methods and techniques of sponsoring and holding race meetings, as well as issuing racing rules and regulations and supervising horse health care.
- European Conference of Arab Horse Organisations (ECAHO) – supervises purebred Arabian horse shows held around the world.
- International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) – Qatar was a founding member, with the purpose of ensuring cooperation between Arab horse racing associations worldwide.
The Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club is known as one of the most enviable race horse training and equestrian centres in the world, and with good reason.
[accordion][acc title=”QREC Professional and Prestigious Exhibition 21 – 24 February 2015″]
21 – 23 February – Open to the public
All are welcome to attend the QREC facilities, shows, races, and other special events being held
24 February – VIP and Elite Community
Also the first day of racing, followed by the launch of the Memories Coffee Table Book[/acc][/accordion]
For more information about QREC and its race meetings and events, visit their website at qrec.gov.qa.
Author: Sarah Palmer
Note: This article has been extracted from Marhaba’s Issue No 61 Winter 2014/15 from the ‘Special Features’ section. For more information about Qatar, pick up Marhaba’s Issue No 61 for only QR20 from the nearest hypermarket or bookstore to you.
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