New Arabian Racehorse Trainer in Newmarket
Newmarket trainer Stephane Lévêque is to become the UK's newest Arabian racehorse trainer, swapping thoroughbreds for purebred Arabians as an upsurge in the sport gathers pace.
With just a small number of Arabian trainers in the UK, Stephane will be only the second in Newmarket, offering owners the unrivalled benefits of 2,500 acres of prime racehorse training facilities with 17 miles of artificial gallops and 50 miles of turf.
The trainer, currently working with thoroughbred racehorses, is going back to his early beginnings in racing to set up as the town's newest Arabian trainer and tap into an international racing network.
His move comes as the sport is set for a major boost in the UK with more races, new races at some of the UK's top courses, better prize money and a higher profile.
Currently based at stables on Hamilton Road with Stephane’s wife, trainer and practising vet Ilka Gansera Lévêque, the couple's training partnership is planning a move to a luxurious new yard with scope to expand.
Stephane's first job was with Arabians when he came to the UK from his native France. He then worked with Arabian horses in Dubai and UAE before moving to Newmarket as a work rider for the Godolphin thoroughbred operation.
"A recent visit to Abu Dhabi identified the need for more Arabian racing trainers in the UK and this is a really exciting move for me," he said. "I am looking forward to combining my years of experience with both Arabians and thoroughbreds for the best results.
"Arabian horses are a little different. The purebred Arabian is an independent creature, an opinionated horse, and it needs a different approach.
"Arabian stallions like the Darley Arabian, Godolphin Arab and Byerley Turk were the basis for our modern thoroughbred, so an upsurge in Arabian racing in this country brings the story of the racehorse full circle."
The UK authority for the sport is the Arabian Racing Organisation and its Racing Manager Amanda Smith commented: “I am delighted to welcome Stephane to Arabian Racing in the UK. He is perfectly situated in Newmarket, the home of British racing and I am sure he will be a successful addition to the trainer’s ranks. I look forward to seeing his results on the track this summer”.
Goodwood is staging its first Group One Arabian race in August as part of the new Qatar Goodwood Festival, a £400,000 race as the first leg of the Qatar Arabian Trip Crown. The second leg will be the Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp as part of the Arc festival and the final leg will be the H.H. The Emir's Sword in Doha in February 2016 with a $1million prize awaiting any horse winning all three races.
In November, the opening meeting of the Abu Dhabi season includes the world's most expensive Arabian horse race, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (The Nation Day Cup) with prize money of €1.2million.
The British season opens on May 2 with an Arabian race day at Wolverhampton, followed by summer fixtures and races at Taunton, Lingfield Park, Hereford, Newbury, Chepstow, Bath, Sandown Park, Windsor and Huntingdon.