Introduction to the Pattern Race Committee
Over the last few years, the effort of the IFAHR’s Pattern Race Committee has led to official recognition of group races for Purebred Arabians.
It was in October 2005 that the Pattern Race Committee, consisting of nine founding member countries of the IFAHR, represented by their Purebred Arabian Racing Authorities, including AFAC (France), ARO (Great Britain), Emirates Equestrian Federation (UAE), QREC (Qatar), DARC (Netherland), the Turkish Jockey Club (Turkey) SARA (Sweden), DRAC (Germany) and AHRCB (Belgium) was created.
In 2006, the Pattern Race Committee achieved recognition that Purebred Arabian Races should have the same status, in form of group races, as have the Thoroughbred races. They were to be called Group PA for “Purebred Arabian”. Those two letters have to stand in all publication, including those reserved for Arabian horses in order to avoid any confusion with the English Thoroughbred.
That same year, all group races of the IFHAR member countries were evaluated by the Pattern Race Committee, who validated those which were recognised by the International Federation as eligible for Group PA status. Those that were not validated continue to be called Group races in their respective countries and are known as local Group races.
The following two years were dedicated to creating an international program of Group PA races in the IFAHR member countries to establish a balanced fixture list. Three Group PA levels have been created, following the English Thoroughbred example: group 1, 2 or 3 PA, with 1 being the highest level. The group level of the race is determined according to its history and the quality of its runners.
In an ideal world, in order to create a true selection program, the Pattern Race Committee would wish for the number of Group 2 PA races to be higher than the Group 1 PA races and the number of Group 3 PA races to be higher than that of the Group 2 PA races. In fact, it would wish that the number of Group 3 PA races exceeds the combined number of Group 1 and 2 PA races.
In January 2009, at the General Assembly of the IFAHR, the Handicapper’s Committee was integrated in the Pattern Race Committee. A fixture list for Pattern races in the 2009/2010 season was also published at that time. In fact, since the IFAHR was founded in 2000, one of the main objectives of the International Federation was the harmonisation of ratings for runners on a global platform.
The new entity of the Pattern Race & Handicapper’s Committee provided a different approach. Harmonisation of ratings in each country was to be achieved via a regular evaluation of each race, thanks to the help of a specific internet site which could constantly be consulted by the handicappers. This site, inspired by the English Thoroughbred example, allows a panel of handicappers to visualize all the Group PA races and to mutually note the performance of all the horses in each of the races, in order to give them a rating. The site, which records all the results of Group PA races since 2010. In 2011 the first international classification list for Purebred Arabian Racehorses was published. The International Classification list has been published annually since and the Supervisory Committee also assesses the annual race ratings of each race to see whether or not each race is achieving the required standard as laid down in the Pattern Rules for its group standing.
The international ranking of Purebred Arabian Racehorses
The project of an internet website for handicappers became a reality in 2011 with the first publication of the official international ranking of the Purebred Arabian racehorse.
The task was handed to six handicappers (France, UAE, Qatar, Germany, Scandinavia and Great Britain) who watched and analyzed all of the Pattern races and their runners.
The site was constructed in the same way as the one for the handicappers of English Thoroughbreds, but this one is simplified.
Every member of the Supervisory Committee has a personal access code to get on the site where he then sees all the group races of every country in order to analyze and rate the horses. This analysis is based on how the race is run and takes into account the distance of the race, the weight the horses carry, the winning margin and the way the race developed (if the horse runs well, if he is hindered by another runner, if he wins well, etc….).
From this data, a handicapping scale (in English pounds) is established, where horses are classed and which corresponds to the rating of the race.
Each runner is hence noted by the handicapper who enters his observations on the site. He can see ratings of his colleagues without being able to intervene.
This rating system allows to judge the evolution of the horses, race after race, but also to determine the quality of the race by the ratings that were made concerning their runners.
At the end of every racing season in Europe, a meeting of the Supervisory Committee is held during several days for harmonizing the ratings established by the handicappers. They come up with a final classification which allows the Committee to publish the international ranking for 3yos as well as for 4yo and upwards.
The big novelty of the website is that every horse that runs in a Group PA race, no matter if it is run in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Casablanca, Istanbul or Chantilly, is rated via the same system, by the same people and according to the same handicapping scale.
Weight for Age scale
A weight for age scale was established by the Supervisory Committee in November 2011 so that the difference in weight carried by horses according to their age as the season progresses and according to the distances they would run over could be determined.
Members of the Supervisory Committee:
Graham Walcroft, Chairman of the Pattern Race & Handicapper Committee
Pamela Cordrey, Handicapper from Scandinavia
Ryan Skelton, Handicapper from Qatar
Harald Siemen, Handicapper from Germany
Benoit Legault, Handicapper from France
Neil Abrahams, Handicapper from UAE
Georgina Tomkins, administrator of the Pattern Race & Handicappers’ website