Sheikh Joaan always seeks to develop Qatar Goodwood Festival
Qatar’s sponsorship has given us opportunity to attract top-quality runners
Top level racing at QREC and we consider holding Goodwood Cup in Doha
Duke Richmond hailed the efforts of HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of Qatar Olympic Committee, for the ongoing development of the annual Qatar Goodwood Festival at Goodwood, UK. Duke Richmond stated that the presence of HE Sheikh Joaan during the first two days of this year’s renewal of the Festival has been a valuable support to the event, especially as HE Sheikh Joaan arrives here to assess the ongoing progress of the Festival.
Duke Richmond, in an interview at the sidelines of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, which concluded on Saturday, 4 August, said: “I was pleased to meet HE Sheikh Joaan at this year’s renewal. He spoke to me about the importance of the ongoing development of the Festival and reaching the optimum level as a Qatar-sponsored event. His presence has given a considerable momentum to the Festival and added to its success. Whenever we meet whether in the UK or in Qatar, I always feel HE Sheikh Joaan’s keen interest to bring about more development. Honestly speaking, the Qatari team are very cooperative and work very closely with us and this has been key in making the Qatar Goodwood Festival what it is now. We will continue such collaboration in our permanent pursuit of ever-improving outcomes.”
When asked how he sees this year’s renewal of the Festival, Duke Richmoned said: “I think everyone has seen the extent of progress the Festival has reached and the top-level racing it has. The turnout speaks for itself indeed. The weather has been fantastic this year and has helped produce the race days brilliantly. The high quality of runners is very remarkable this year thanks to Qatar’s sponsorship, which has led to raising the prize money, which in turn attracts top-class horses.”
Speaking of the positive impact of Qatar’s sponsorship on the Festival, Duke Richmond said: “Qatar always seeks innovation. For four years, since the beginning of Qatar’s sponsorship, the Qatari team have always been asking what they can do and offer to further enhance the Festival and this attitude does foster the sanding and value of the event. Thanks to Qatar’s sponsorship, we have been able to improve the facilities at Goodwood racecourse as part of our efforts and commitment to continuous improvement. In fact, the Qatari side have been very clever in their interest in raising the prize money of the races, which in turn has been reflected in attracting some of the very-best runners and increasing numbers of racegoers. The Goodwood Cup, for example, was promoted to Group One last year while it has been held for 200 years, so thanks to Qatar’s sponsorship, it has become a Group One for the first time in its long history. In the near future, we will seek to upgrade the seven-furlong Lennox to Group One. In fact, the Qatari side have wide knowledge and excellent understanding of racing and how top-quality horses can further enhance the standing of the Festival.”
Describing horseracing events in Qatar based on attending several race meetings in Qatar over the last few years, the Duke of Richmond said: “Races in Qatar are very enjoyable. I have noticed the increasing numbers of families present at the QREC racecourse. There is a rapid development of racing one year after another as you, in Qatar, are highly motivated for more and more development.
“At present, we are working with our Qatari partners to maximise cooperation between us to enhance racing at QREC although are support will be less than the support we received at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Both sides are considering holding a Goodwood Cup race at the QREC Al Rayyan racecourse in future. It will be fantastic to organise this race in Qatar as all elements of success are available there, which is also coupled with the QREC senior management’s enthusiasm for the continuous improvement and development of horseracing”, concluded the Duke of Richmond.