For the last 38 years, a quintessential pocket of British countryside nestling amongst a sea of rolling green hills 60 miles from London has been paying homage to Arabian horse racing and culture.
Some of the richest people in the world – including members of the Dubai royal family – descend on Newbury’s racecourse to showcase the best of Middle Eastern culture both to horse racing fans as well as members of the local community.
Different from the thoroughbreds that you might usually associate with racing, Arabian horses are generally smaller and are renowned for their stamina.
“They are cheeky, that’s for sure,” leading jockey Bryony Frost, who was riding in the Newbury event for the very first time, told CNN Sport as she reflected on the two breeds’ different physical attributes.
“They’re good fun, they’re very sharp, they’re very intelligent, They’re always going to be two steps ahead of you so you’ve got to be three steps ahead of them.
She continued: “If you were to have a room full of class children with thoroughbreds and then the Arabs, I would definitely say that they [Arabian horses] would be the troublemakers amongst the bunch.”
Growing the sport
Getting Frost to attend the event was certainly a coup for the organizers – the 24-year-old is one of the most recognizable faces in British racing. In March she became the first female jockey to win a top-flight race at the iconic Cheltenham Festival.
In between competing, Frost joined in the carnival atmosphere of the day, walking amongst the fans and answering any questions the crowd might have.
She admitted to “throwing myself in the deep end” by making the switch from jumps to flat horses but was happy to help the sport develop.
“It gets massive support from the owners and the trainers as well,” said Frost. “Days like this you wouldn’t know the difference between a flat meeting and an Arabian meeting.”
“Crowds are really coming in because the money is behind it. So the children and everyone can have a class day.”
Frost was not the only big name to take place in the event, with four-time Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Olivier Peslier also competing in front of the enthusiastic crowd.