Dubai: The Jebel Ali Racecourse which is celebrating its 21st anniversary, has been given the honour of kicking off the 2012-2013 UAE racing season with a six-race card on Friday.
While the venue has succeeded in carving a niche for itself in local, if not international, racing circles, racecourse manager Shareef Al Halawani is convinced that one can improve on perfection.
“I am pleased to highlight that the preparations for this season have been completed and we hope they will be up to expectations for the racegoers, owners, trainers and jockeys,” he said during a press conference at Mina A’Salam on Tuesday.
“We have successfully sold out all the races for the season to our main sponsors, while our co-sponsors will offer hundreds of valuable gifts for the general public.
“We would like to thank all race goers for their commitment to Jebel Ali Racecourse and hope they enjoy another great season.”
Al Halawani also thanked Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, for being the main supporter of Jebel Ali Racecourse and Maj Gen Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, who established the venue in 1990.
He highlighted the role played by the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) as the governing body for horse racing in the UAE in their support and co-operation in conducting the race meets at Jebel Ali.
“Our mission is to develop racing each year at Jebel Ali Racecourse and this would not be possible without the involvement of sponsors, officials, owners, trainers, jockeys and the general public,” Al Halawani added. “We want people to come and enjoy the racing just as much as we enjoy putting on a show.”
Friday’s races will be the first of 11 race days that will be staged at the venue this season from November 2 to March 22.
Tuesday’s press event was attended by representatives of the afternoon sponsors led by Shadwell, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Al Shafar Investment, Al Redha Insurance Brokers, Al Tall Engineering and Power Point LLC.
Mirza Al Sayegh, Chairman of Shadwell and Director of Shaikh Hamdan’s Office, commented: “Shadwell is delighted to continue its support and sponsorship of racing at Jebel Ali Racecourse. We look forward to another great year’s racing.
“Shaikh Hamdan remains committed to supporting racing at Jebel Ali, and we hope that his patronage will go a long way in raising the profile of racing at the popular venue.”
The Dubai International Arabian Horse Show (DIAHC) will continue to support the Best Turned Out Horse competition worth Dh1,000 for each of the day’s six races, while Al Habtoor Motors have donated 11 2013 model Mitsubishi Lancers, which will be raffled off at each race meet. And, as part of an exciting new initiative that targets young racegoers, Al Habtoor Motors will give away 11 iPads to lucky kids at every race meeting.
“Youngsters are the future and we believe that investing in education is money well spent,” said Mersedeh Mahdi, General Manager - Marketing. “We hope that giving away learning tools like iPads will contribute to their development and, of course, reward their contribution by coming racing at Jebel Ali Racecourse.”