Three Arab race horses, estimated to be worth around £2.5million, have been presented to the Russian president by the King of Jordan

Arab horse racing looks set to take off in Russia this year when a four-month season begins in May at Moscow’s central hippodrome, according to the Times newspaper.

The sport has received a big boost from a gift by King Abdullah of Jordan to Russian president Vladimir Putin of three Arab horses – two stallions and a mare.

The hippodrome, the largest racecourse in Russia, is reported to be enjoying a “renaissance” under the management of Vladimir Zhukovsky.

The Times quotes Zhukovsky as saying that he expects the course to receive almost £2 million from betting over the four-month season.

He hopes to create “Moscow’s equivalent of Ascot”.

Over the season, 70 horses will take part in 20 races, with prize money in the region of £200,000.

Arab horses have been bred in Russia since 1960 when President Nasser of Eqypt presented former Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, with an Arab stallion.

Until now, Arab horse races have taken place only in the warmer southern towns of Pyatigorsk and Rostov-on-Don.

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