(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The H H The Emir 23rd International Equestrian Sword Festival will begin on February 20, culminating in the H H The Emir Trophy and Sword Race Meeting one week later.
The official programme for the event was formally announced at a press conference yesterday attended by Sheikh Mohamed bin Faleh Al Thani, chairman of Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club.
The occasion was used to launch a brand new identity for Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club's flagship event. Sheikh Mohamed bin Faleh said: "The new logo has been introduced to give the event its own identity and to help us promote recognition of the Festival in the region and on the wider stage.
"We are grateful to our sponsors for their continued support and I am confident that we have created a logo that will complement the many prestigious brands we are associated with."
The eight-day event will encompass the region's most expansive celebration of the Arabian horse.
Members of two globally recognised bodies within the sport will be among approximately 400 international visitors to the Festival. The European Conference of Arab Horse Organisations and The International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities will both use the occasion to hold their annual general meetings.
The Open Arena at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club will be the focus of attention during the first part of the festival, when the three-day 23rd Qatar International Arabian Horse Show and the two-day 4th Qatar International Straight Egyptian Arabian Horse Show will be held.
The Al Shahania Stud, the highly successful training and breeding operation established more than 30 years ago by H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani, and which stands the 2010 Kahayla Classic winner, Jaafer, will open its gates to visitors on February 25.
The first of three days' racing will get under way at 1.30 pm in Al Rayyan, where the nine-race card features three valuable Cup events: the Qatar GCC Gulf Cup, the Al Rayyan Cup and the Qatar 2022 Invitation Cup, a Group 3 event for Thoroughbreds.
There will be an opportunity to meet leading trainers and jockeys at a breakfast event on February 26 before the start of the nine-race card featuring the Group 1 Qatar International Trophy.
The highlight of the Festival, the H H The Emir's Trophies and Sword Race Meeting, gets under way at 1.30 pm on February 27 and features races at the highest level for both pure-bred Arabians and thoroughbreds.
An opening ceremony heralding the start of QIEF will be hosted by international racing personality Derek Thompson, who will return to present all three days of racing to provide informative insights and enhance the visitor experience for race goers in Al Rayyan.
This year, the prize money will reach QR25m for the first time, said Sami Al Boenain, QREC general manager.